In a letter to the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, two women from Hyderabad have requested the Centre to help rescue their kin, who are allegedly stuck in Gulf countries after being cheated by Indian agents, who promised them a decent job and living.
The matter escalated after the sponsors, known as kafeels, stopped paying their salaries and began torturing their victims.
One of the women, in her letter, alleged that local politicians from Hyderabad were shielding the agents, who are now on the run.
Reshma Begum, a 17-year-old intermediate student, is fighting a lone battle to rescue her mother, Shakera Begum from Borabanda, who has been stuck in Saudi Arabia for the last two years.
“One Mohd. Murtaza approached my mother offering her the job of a nanny, in 2016, promising her 1,600 Saudi Riyal as monthly salary. His son, Mukarram, and one Ismuddin arranged for her passport and completed all other formalities. But only after reaching Saudi did she realise that she had been cheated. She is now being forced to work as a house maid and is often beaten up by the kafeel, who keeps her locked her in a room, demanding 30,000 SR to release her. My mother is uneducated and does not even know how to make a phone call. We are not even aware of where she lives in Saudi,” Reshma Begum told TNM.
Reshma filed a case against Mohd. Murtaza, who now works as a watchman in Saudi, and his son Mukarram. Citing that Mukarram is only 21 years old, his lawyer has pleaded innocence.
She alleged that after she refused to take back the case, the men threatened her saying that the police was powerless as many local politicians supported it.
Even though a case has been filed against Mukarram, he has not yet appeared in person at the SR Nagar police station where Reshma has filed he plaint. “When we contacted Mukarram over the phone, he spoke to us rather rudely and told us that his father is the brother of Saleem Baig (an AIMIM corporator) and that no one can do anything to him,” Reshma said.
Mohd. Murtaza refused to help when he was earlier approached by Shakera Begum’s family. After the complaint was filed, Murtaza said that he would help Shakera Begum only if the case is withdrawn, Reshma says.
Malan Begum, who is 18 years old, was trafficked to Kuwait on the promise of getting a job as a beautician. Now, her mother, Rukiya Begum, is extremely nervous as her daughter’s visa is set to expire. After Malan Begum poured out all her woes to her mother, she filed a complaint in the Kanchanbagh police station 15 days ago. But it has fallen on deaf years, she alleges.
“A couple, Tasleem Begum and her husband Nawaz from Sailabad, approached us and offered my daughter the job of a beautician with 100 Kuwaiti Dirhams as her monthly salary. I did not want to send my kid away, but the couple sounded so convincing that I cajoled my daughter into going there to earn some money for the family. But my daughter has been languishing in the home of her kafeel for the past 5 months in Kuwait. She has been forced to work as a housemaid and not even a month’s salary has been paid to her so far. The kafeel has taken away her phone and she calls me every night from another maid’s number and weeps all through the conversation,” Rukiaya Begum says.
Rukiya filed a complaint with the help of MBT leader Amjedullah Khan against the couple at the Kanchanbagh police station on June 29. The police have only been summoning the woman to the station and are elusive whenever we ask them about the man’s whereabouts, Rukiya says.
The couple had allegedly shown Malan Begum’s age as 22 on her Aadhaar card. She was taken on a visit visa, which will expire on July 13. In the past five months, Malan has worked as housemaid in five different houses in Kuwait, she alleged.
Speaking to TNM, SI Nagesh of Kanchanbagh police station said that they have caught one Saleem, who has been part of the fraud.
“We have also talked to Nawaz, who argues that the girl was taken to Kuwait with the consent of her parents and that he was unaware of the trap set there. A case has been registered and further probe is on,” SI Nagesh added.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) until December 2017, in all, 8,057 cases of human trafficking was registered with the police. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have registered 229 and 239 cases respectively.
On July 4, another complaint was filed against an agent at the Golconda police station for allegedly duping Chand Bee, a woman from Ahmednagar, and selling her for Rs 3 lakh to a kafeel in Saudi Arabia. The accused is still absconding.