A group of Ugandan women were flown out of Saudi Arabia this week by their government and returned home, after being victims of human trafficking, reports the BBC.
Seven women who thought they were relocating to Saudi Arabia for work as house maids ended up in a shelter in the city of Riyadh, because they lacked the funds to pay for their flights back home.
In addition to confirming that the group of women were returned home, Ugandan Saudi Arabia Ambassador Rachid Yahya Ssemuddu explained that for the other 18 Ugandan women also found at the shelter, the majority of women were victims of “human trafficking.”
“Many of the young girls were brought to Saudi Arabia on promises that could not be met by Saudi Arabia proteststhose recruiting them,” Ssemuddu said.
Uganda has now joined Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines in banning its women from being recruited as maids in Saudi Arabia, but unfortunately, what’s happening to these women isn’t new.
Last year, Face2Face Africa reported on the “slave”-like experience of many African women in neighboring Kuwait.
As Face2Face Africa previously reported:
In the capital city of Middle Eastern nation Kuwait, African women hailing from Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya, and Ethiopia, are being duped into lives of servitude, after they are promised nursing and hotel jobs abroad.”
…According to a number of “housemaids” that were interviewed, once the agents made their profit off of the “sale” of a woman, they usually never heard from or saw these agents again.
In fact, the “lives” waiting for them at these gated mansions are ones where they are expected to work 22 hours a day.
In addition to working around the clock, women explained being sexually assaulted, beaten, and deprived of their salaries.
A recent video further exposing this abuse shows a woman, purportedly Ethiopian, being beaten by a man, purportedly Saudi Arabian:
The poor treatment and abuse of maids in the Middle East is a familiar tale. Benjamin Dix and Lindsay Pollock tell the disturbing story of a young Ethiopian woman who took a job as a domestic help in Saudi Arabia but was treated like a slave.