ASK’s Intervention-Statement of Sonia: a domestic worker rescued from Saudi Arabia

Sonia Akter (not her real name), mother of two children, left for Saudi Arabia from Dohar, Dhaka despite all the forewarnings of her uncle residing there to escape from poverty. With limited income of her vendor husband, she could not find a better way to married off her daughter and make her son undergo through a surgery for correcting speech impairment.

Like many other girls, she reached to Dammam, Saudi Arabia with hope of a better future. To go Saudi Arabia and have a job of domestic worker in a decent family, she paid 12,000Tk to the brokers in installments. But six weeks after her arrival and working in a family of 12 members, she found that she has been sold to them. However, following inhuman tortures and starving she protest to work there and demand for sending her back to Bangladesh. She was taken to a Office where she was sold again to another person for 3,00,000Tk. With no hope of rescue she twice fled to Police Station. But she was sent back to the same place promising to send her back in Bangladesh.  As she attempted to flee from there for the third time because of unbearable torture and harassment she was detained in a jail for 15 days. She was sent back to the office where she met two other girls namely Fatema and Jaheda (not their real names), who were trying to find a way to come back to Bangladesh through Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK).

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), with the help of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia, rescued three of them. But due to some procedural reason it took longer than others to reach Sonia in Bangladesh. Now as a result of brutal tortures and mental stigma she is unable to start a normal life. Describing her horrible experiences, she demands compensation and punishment of the perpetrators.