The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is asking Riyadh to conduct a full inquiry into the murder of Balakrishnan Dharshani, 26, a maid from Kandy who was found with dead burn marks in her sponsor’s house in the country.
“We have to wait for the police and medical reports for the mission to issue a no-objection letter to clear the body for repatriation,” A Sri Lankan Embassy official told Arab News said the official.
Dharshani’s parents claim they received letters “complaining of ill treatment by the sponsor,” said L.K. Ruhunuge, an SLBFE official, over the phone from Colombo on Saturday.
The maid arrived to work in the Kingdom on May 17.
“The maid told her parents she had become sick due to continuous beatings by the sponsor,” said Ruhunuge. “We cannot understand the logic of such treatment since the sponsor also spent a substantial sum to recruit her.”
According to Ruhunuge, the SLBFE recorded 330 deaths of Lankan maids in the Middle East in 2009; most of them are not considered homicides.
The Lankan Embassy in Riyadh reports that the country’s mission in Saudi Arabia receives about 10 runaway maids a day.
The embassy official said most cases are successfully mediated while some result in the workers being sent back home either at the sponsor’s expense or through an SLBFE program.
Embassies and consulates from countries that send a large number of domestic workers also run shelters due to the considerable number of servants who flee their sponsors due to various complaints, ranging from refusal to pay salaries to physical and sexual abuse.
Most of these workers arrive at shelters without their passports or any form of identification.