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Saturday , December 10 2022

Agony of an Asian woman

This post has been read 14927 times!


Radhat was sitting on a small bench kneading bread to put in the oven in front of her while her little daughter, and her sick father, waited.
Suddenly the door of the worn-out house, which was hardly good enough to hold a lock, opened and a boy enters wearing shabby clothes and said excitedly with his mouth full (he was eating something) Radhat… Radhat… the outpost has reported that your husband died in an avalanche in the Himalayas.


Radhat did not hear what the boy said, and she unconsciously threw all the dough into the oven, and collapsed crying with a silent groan. The news shattered her and the world in front of her eyes blackened.
She began to lament and was worried about the future looking into the distant world wondering who will feed her, her father and daughter and pay the electricity and water bills and how she will buy medicine for her father.
She lay semi-conscious on the floor, her father and daughter beside her unable to do anything, and they did not know how to help her in her hour of distress.


After about a month or so, the same boy came back and told her to accompany him to the post office, for there are those who are looking for someone who wants to work in Kuwait.
Radhat arrived at the Kuwait Airport at three in the morning after a long and tiring journey, along with more than fifty of her female compatriots, after two days of walking for hours from the mountainside village, and then on mules to the nearby city, and then by bus to the capital, Kathmandu airport, and Kuwait via Dubai.
The company representative was waiting for the group at the airport, where he cleared their documents very slowly, adding to the pain and hardship of travel.


Three hours later, they found themselves in a building that they later knew was located in Mahboula, and found that four other women would share one bedroom, with a bathroom for every five rooms.
They started working the next morning, and the agreement was that the cleaning and contracting company would pay them 75 dinars as a monthly salary, along with housing.


The day the salary was received was a feast day that relieved some of her pain, her concern for her father’s health, and her longing for her young daughter, who left her with her only sister to whom she sent all her salary, except what was enough for her to buy a little food for a whole month, and she asked her sister to pay off part of the debt that she borrowed to come to Kuwait, in exchange for mortgaging her dilapidated house, in order to pay the equivalent of a thousand dollars in commission to the broker who arranged the work for her.


Radhat worked daily for 9 hours non-stop, and moving to the workplace in a ministry concerned with religious matters, and returning to housing, usually took about two hours and this drained their strength but the debts back home pushed the group to work with strange determination and patience in spite of no one showing mercy they carried on. All this happens – difficult living conditions – happens because of the greed of the so-called human traffickers although the government knows this, they are forced to accept the lowest offers.


It was a hard day when the supervisor among them told them that their salaries would be reduced from the beginning of the next month, and that the deducted amount would be collected and paid at the end of the two-year service, and whoever did not accept to should sign a document in this regard, in Arabic, thus the contract would be terminated and they would be sent back to their country.
The seventh months salary came with deducted amount then the salaries stopped being paid.


Neither Radhat nor her colleagues could stop working, and four months passed while they worked for free, with no hope of a breakthrough. In the end, they had no choice but to stop working and a fellow worker advised them to join him and seek the help of the Public Authority for Manpower.
PAM did not delay looking into the complaint, referred the company’s owners to the Prosecution, and immediately contacted the Human Friendship Society, requesting its quick intervention and to provide food to more than 500 workers, most of them who were not paid salaries for several months.


How does this happen in a country that has dozens of institutions brimming with money?
Why don’t the concerned authorities request an insurance policy from labor recruitment companies or others, so that their workers can benefit from it in purchasing their necessary requirements, if the company stops paying their salaries?


How long will these flagrant violations of their rights continue? Why does no one want to move to put an end to the greed of some companies that specialize in trading in humans and depriving them from their rights? Who helps Radhat, whose dreams were humbled and confined to obtaining her passport, and the price of a ticket to return to her young daughter and sick father?

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf

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