Kathmandu, November 17:

Nine women migrant workers, who had illegally flown to Saudi Arabia (SA) through individual agents in the hope of earning fat salaries, today returned home not only empty-handed but with horrible tales of their own miseries.

Women and girls between 17 to 31 years from Jhapa, Sunsari, Kapilbastu, Bardia, Kaski, Rupandehi, Syangja and Dang had gone to SA via India.

In an interaction with media today at Maiti Nepal, they came up with the tales of seclusion, cultural shock and harsh treatments at their work places from their employers. All of them were working as domestic helpers in SA. Eventually, they managed to escape from their employers and landed in the embassy of Nepal in SA with the help of other Nepali workers there.

Babisha Gurung — a student of Bachelor of Arts from Jamuni village, Bardia, accepted one Bal Bahadur BC’s offer of working in SA that would pay her Rs 25,000 per month. Gurung said she did not ask for the job details.

“I flew to Delhi in June 2005, where I had to wait for a month for my visa. After arriving in SA, I realised that even BC — a local agent — was helpless in taking us out of our jobs,” she said. Another girl, Kabita Pariyar of Partapur village in Kaski, also blindly trusted an agent named Nandu, who promised to fix a job as a domestic worker in Dubai or Oman that would pay her Rs 12,000 per month. Talking about two months’ experience with a Saudi Arabian family, Pariyar said: “The employers would not provide us with food and we had to work 24 hours a day. They would physically and verbally abuse us without any reason.” She recalled one incident when she retaliated with her madam and was locked up in a toilet for two days without food and water.

All of them tricked their employers and escaped from their places as they had restricted their mobility. Deepa Oli of Jymarghari, Jhapa, showing her scar on her left leg which she sustained while jumping off from the boundary wall while escaping, said: “When we left the remand home, there were still 21 girls waiting to be rescued.”

Bishwa Khadka, director of Maiti Nepal, said the government should works towards rescuing women migrant labourers working in insecure sectors. The embassy should have labour attaché where there are more than 3,000 migrant workers, he said.