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Kerala women fall prey in global trafficking through Kuwait

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Google Oneindia News

Kuwait does prohibit transnational slavery, but it has not demonstrated any progress in punishing trafficking offences

New Delhi, Jun 20: An overseas job recruitment and the terror links to it have come to light after a few young women from Kerala recounted their horrors. Several young women managed to escape the racket and returned to Kerala.

Preliminary investigations have shown that the racket is based in Kuwait and under the pretext of job recruitment over 100 women have been trafficked. It has come to light that the women were promised baby-sitter jobs, a free visa, flight tickets and a salary of Rs 60,000.

Kerala women fall prey in global trafficking through Kuwait

The women who bit the bait would be taken to Kuwait and then sold off to overseas families. It was also found that the women who resisted were taken to Syria and then sold off to the Islamic State.

A case was registered after a woman from West Kochi escaped from the traffickers and then approached the police. The woman managed to escape with the help of a Malayali Association in Kuwait.

According to the woman's statement, Majeed alias Gasali from Taliparamba living abroad is the alleged kingpin. She also named one Ajumon a resident of Ernakulam as the primary recruiter. He is alleged to have taken women to Sharjah on visiting visas from Kerala after promising jobs in day care centres.

The women who managed to escape said that they did housemaid's work day and night. They said that they had to work round the clock and were expected to cook, clean, housekeeping and laundry in addition to look after 9 children.

She said that she stood and watched with horror as her agent collected the money and walked away. He left her at an Arab's home and walked away. She said that she was slapped for minor mistakes and was given kuboos and water just once a day.

She further recalled that she feared escaping because her employer worked with the police. I endured the horror for two months. She however managed to get in touch with her family who with the help of the Embassy managed to get her out.

The police learnt that posters had come up between December 2021 and February 2022 advertising for the job of baby sitters and hospital staff in Kuwait. It was also found that when these women threatened to protest after realising that they had fallen trap, they were threatened that false cases would be filed against them.

The National Investigation Agency is looking into whether any of the women were sold off to the terror group Islamic State in Syria. The women had complained that the agents demanded Rs 3.5 lakh if they wanted to be freed and if they failed to pay up they would sold off to an Islamic State camp in Syria.

Kuwait has also been rated as the worst in human trafficking with thousands of foreign nationals being subjected to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, poor working conditions and confinement.

Kuwait has been a destination and transit country for men and women for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Philippines have willingly migrated and have worked as domestic servants. Upon arrival they have been subjected to conditions of forced labour, restrictions on movement and prostitution.

While the government of Kuwait has not demonstrated any progress in punishing trafficking offence, the country does prohibit transnational slavery through Article 185 of its criminal code. The section prescribes punishment of 5 years. Kuwait has focused more on administrative action such as shitting down recruitment firms etc rather than assign stringent prison penalties for trafficking.

When it comes to human rights and religious freedom, a Freedom House 2022 report says that the country ranks at 14 suggesting that it is partly free. Further reports also say that in Kuwait foreign nationals account for 70 per cent of the population and are prey to the kafala system which leave them prone to exploitation.

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