Indian domestic worker recounts ‘hellish experience’ in Saudi Arabia

Indian women domestic workers have to undergo ‘hellish experiences’ in Gulf countries. In another glaring case of negligence, 42-year-old Indian woman Jacintha Mendonca finally returned home after she was forced to work as a ‘slave’ in Saudi Arabia after a 14-month ordeal where she was tortured like an animal.

She was allegedly duped by a Mumbai-based recruiting agency who promised her a high-salary job in Qatar. She was first taken to Dubai, and then flown to Saudi Arabia where she had been "enslaved" for the last 14 months.

Jacintha Mendonca was forced to work as a ‘slave’ in Saudi Arabia.
Jacintha Mendonca was forced to work as a ‘slave’ in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy: slate

Talking to reporters at AV Baliga Hospital in Udpidi district of Karnataka, Mendonca said, “I had a hellish experience in Yanbu. I was made to work day in, day out at three mansions belonging to the employer's mother, his three wives and their children. I was tortured like an animal.”

The hapless lady recalled that her employer did not let her leave the house even for short walks and the children in the house called her ‘slave’.

Though the domestic worker managed to escape the house in November 2016, police soon caught her and took her back to the employer.

She said her employer thrashed her after the failed escape bid and did not even offer water despite her pleading.

It was only after a non-profit body Human Rights Protection Foundation of Udupi heard about her plight that efforts were made to bring her back to end the ordeal. The organisation contacted the head of a non-resident Indians' forum, Roshan Rodrigues, in Saudi Arabia in April this year. After that, the social work volunteers then helped her in returning home.

Mendonca has been finally reunited with her family at Mundrangady in Udupi district. She has asked Indian authorities to book the people who have cheated her. She said she will never return to the Gulf again.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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