Working outside India is often considered a lucrative prospect but it is laced with uncertainties and risks. There have been instances in the past when people have been stuck and have reached out for help. And more often than not the Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has helped out in the most unusual of ways thanks to her presence on Twitter, setting an inspiring example. But things have not worked out so smoothly for a group of young women, who were deserted at Abu Dhabi, and seemed to have no help at hand up until recently when one of their friends – here in India – wrote a series of Faceboook posts with an appeal to help them out.
On condition of anonymity, DM – a lawyer by profession – told indianexpress.com that her friend and client had gone to Abu Dhabi two months ago to work as a cook, but things only went worse from there. In her post on August 3, DM wrote, “My friend is stuck at her employer’s residence in Abu Dhabi. She managed to escape and go to the Indian embassy, only to be told to come back after two days. Her passport is with her employer and her agent is not letting her come back.”
The friend was regularly harassed and when she got a sense that she could be fired soon, she contacted her agency to come back to India on August 2. But instead of receiving any help, she was forced by the agency to take up employment somewhere else in Abu Dhabi. DM said the next day, on August 3, her friend went to the Indian embassy in UAE as they were told by Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC). “A colleague’s relative had waited for her outside her employer’s house and dropped her off to the embassy,” DM claimed. But all their efforts were futile as she was turned away from there since the embassy was closed for two days.
Her friend then apparently went to her employer’s house as “she had no money on her”, and the very next day she was taken to by the people from the agency. DM’s friend and five other women from different countries, who all worked as domestic workers at Abu Dhabi, are said to be held “almost as captive” with little or no contact with the outside world. “I have emailed the embassy and IWRC, but they both have reverted saying they do not have the capacity to rescue her,” DM said.
She has also tweeted to Sushma Swaraj but is yet to receive a response. After being almost captive by the agency, DM said the women are now with the Abu Dhabi police though it is unclear whether this is to be seen as a respite or cause for more concern, as neither the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi nor IWRC has apparently “come forward with any help”.
In response to an email from IE.com, Kapil Raj, second secretary, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, wrote, “The Embassy is following up the case and is in discussion with local UAE authorities for her early repatriation. We have asked for her consular access. She is the only Indian woman who has been rescued by local authorities besides few other women from different nationalities. The mission has taken up the matter with concerned local UAE authorities for early appropriate action. All necessary assistance will be provided…to enable her to return to India safely including free air ticket and Emergency Certificate (travel document) if required.”
indianexpress.com has emailed the IWRC for comment.
This is what DM posted on the IWRC page on Facebook.
She relentlessly tried to reach out on Facebook for some help.
Finally things are looking up.
As a follow-up to this last post, DM told IE.com that apparently her friend and the colleagues may have “been arrested by the police, not rescued. Though this is still unconfirmed”.
In the meanwhile, many have replied to DM’s series of posts in an attempt to help the people in distress.