Over 200 Ugandan girls who were recruited as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia are trapped and stranded due to unbearable working conditions.
In an exclusive audio clip obtained by this paper, the embattled girls are losing hope day by day as their Arab employers continuously treat them as slaves in broad daylight.
In the interview, the girls have narrated and exposed recruitment companies that handed them to remorseless Arab employers. The girls have complained of gruesome rape, torture, unpaid wages and confinement like dogs by their Arab masters.
Narrating in Luganda, a local dialect, one of the girls who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity says:
My friend, we were brought here to work, but work here is too tedious that one is bound to fail at the end of the day. One cleaner can be given one house that has over 10 floors. So we got so tired and decided to escape and sought refuge in police.
The fact is working conditions here are horrible that can better be felt than described. Every tribe is here, most of them work tirelessly without salaries, they are raped, beaten and some of them are injected all sorts of drugs. All domestic workers here are all confined in one single filthy room and we are not given food, but survive on tea.
When we felt the conditions were unbearable, we hatched a plan to escape from our tormentors, the so called employers. We managed to escape from the confinement room after conniving with our female cook, who advised us to tie her hands, legs and mouth so that they could escape. That is when we managed to escape and were salvaged by police who put us in detention rooms where we are living now.
But the recruitment companies that brought us here are in a total mess, their telephone contacts cannot be reached, we are just suffering here. We want to leave and return to Uganda, but there is no open door to do so. Ugandans are dying here day and night, some of them are very sick, but there is no access to medical facilities.
We have no mode of communication because our employers confiscated our phones in the line of duty. Whoever is a Ugandan here is treated like an animal. We are appealing to everyone to come to our rescue because we have no money to bring us back home. While at police here, the condition is not any better, we are very many, others are dying, but still there is no hope that we shall be repatriated.
At police here, we are ever handcuffed and one will only be freed when police has a job for them to do outside. But even after that the money that you get is taken away when you return to the cells. If you refuse to release the money then you will be brutally beaten to near death. Whoever can reach Hajjati Nuru, please tell her to come for us because she is the one who brought us here. Others who recruited us here include a one Abdu (0703085348), Mama Rahuma,
Saudi is a rotten state, we want to return home. We have young girls here; as young as 17 and 13 years of age being sexually abused. In fact, some of them have run mad.
My name is Rhoda Abulo from Teso sub-region. I was brought by a company called Maghrib Agencies Limited located on Busabala Road, Najjanankumbi. When I was brought here I was taken by somebody in the nearby town. But during my stay there, I was mistreated and they wanted to sacrifice me. So I feared for my life and worked for only four days and ran away. I had to sell my phone to enable me raise some money to travel to Airport Police who then brought me here at another police station where we are camped now. Despite the fact that we are fed and fairly treated well here at police cells, we still want to come back home, but we don’t know if we shall find a way out of here. The girls here are not safe; some are raped, others are pregnant so please help us and talk to those companies.
My name is Rehema Babirye, I was recruited by a company called Methac International located at Mukwano Mall in the City Centre. I am appealing to whoever is listening to this audio clip to come to our rescue. I have desperately worked hard to an extent of committing suicide. Our colleagues are here dying, suffering and all these so called employers do is raping the girls. My friend called Annet Anita was recruited by Alsalam Logistics & Consultancy Limited located on Kizza Road and Makindye, Lukuli.
TORTURE VIDEO EMERGES
In another development, a throbbing video has emerged showing Arab employers torturing a girl. Despite the fact the girl’s identity is not known, the video shows two Arabs burning the girl’s private parts using a lighter. The girl had her hands and legs tied together as the remorseless men burnt her Kandahar.
efforts to cry for help were futile as her mouth had been covered, but her body movements showed she was in untold pain.
On Friday, police deputy spokesperson Polly Namaye confirmed that they had arrested Khalima Abdalla of Kenyan nationality on suspicion that she together with others still at large was involved in acts of human trafficking.
Khalima is married in Uganda and is a resident of Makindye Division, Kampala.
According to Namaye, Khalima is suspected to have used her company-Turkey Business Solutions in 2015 to recruit people for the benefit of employment in Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai and others.
“The police at Special Investigations Division (SID) Kireka received complaints of mistreatment, sexual harassment, assault, denial of payment and abuse of those who had been taken under this company,” Namaye said. These cases have been opened up under GEF 169/2015, 294/2015, 305/2015, 289/2015, 288/2015, 276/2015 and 001/2015.
GOVT BANS RECRUITING COMPANIES
Meanwhile, the government on Friday slapped a ban on recruiting companies barring them from employing Ugandans to work as maids and potters in foreign countries.
In a letter dated January 22, 2016, written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Muruli Wilson Mukasa has banned the recruitment and deployment of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia and other countries until favourable working conditions are adapted.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you that after reviewing all processes and procedures pertaining to the recruitment and deployment of housemaids as well as their working conditions, we have come to the conclusion that to ban the recruitment and deployment of housemaids to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forthwith,” Muruli’s letter reads in part.
“The ban will remain in force until the conditions are deemed fitting. The ban is also in line with parliament recommendation on banning recruitment and deployment of housemaids.”
With emphasis on Saudi Arabia, Minister Muruli Mukasa said that the Arab country refused to comply with the new working conditions that had been set.
It should be remembered that on 7th July, 2015, Gender ministry signed an Agreement with the Ministry of Labour in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding employment domestic workers from Uganda to Saudi Arabia. The two countries agreed on the Standard Employment Contract which shall govern the employment in Saudi Arabia of Ugandan domestic workers or Household Service Workers (HSWs) and which should be followed by all employers and Ugandan HSWs in Saudi Arabia.
“Our expectations were that with the signing of the agreement, human trafficking to Saudi Arabia would stop. To our surprise we have continued to receive information of our people being subjected to inhuman treatment at the hands of the employers in Saudi Arabia,” Muruli said. Thousands of Ugandans are doing petty jobs in the Middle East.