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SL maid rescued

13 November 2012 09:17 am - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A 25-year-old Sri Lankan had been rescued after allegedly being held against her will by her sponsor for almost 18 months, Bahrain Daily News reported.

Velusundaram Manjula arrived in the country in 2009 to work as a housemaid for a Bahraini family.

Activists say she was promised a salary of BD85 a month, but got only BD60 when she arrived. She was also forced to work around 21 hours a day in two separate households.

Ms Manjula reportedly went to the police after two years, but was allegedly ignored.

A year later, she approached them again. But as she was not a victim of abuse, she was referred to the Labour Ministry.

Ms Manjula later took refuge at the MWPS shelter, where she has been staying for more than a month.
From left, Ms Manjula, Ms Szalay and MWPS chairwoman Marietta Dias at the Press conference

MWPS action committee head Liz Szalay said it was common for workers not to be paid the salary promised to them before they arrive in Bahrain.

"It is a problem here and it is blatant," she said during a Press conference at the society in Adliya yesterday.

"You see advertisements for BD60 posted up but there is no Sri Lankan consular or embassy here.

"Because there is no representative here, workers and especially Sri Lankans and Ethiopians are taken advantage of."

Ms Manjula, who has a seven-year-old son, has filed a police complaint against her sponsor claiming she was held under duress.

However, the MWPS say she is set to return home penniless after lengthy negotiations with her sponsor about her severance pay broke down.

The organisation will also have to fund her air ticket.

"She signed her contract in Sri Lanka at the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment that she would be receiving BD85 but she got just BD60," said Ms Szalay.

"She worked in two houses at the same time - the daughter's house and the mother's.

"She worked 22 hours a day for only BD60 and still had to buy her own shampoo, soap, uniform, food and even her bed sheet."
Many low-income workers opt to go home rather than wait for justice as they are unable to work until a verdict is issued and cannot afford to stop earning money to feed their families.

Activists say while the police, Labour Ministry and General Directorate of Nationality Passports and Residency (GDNPR) acknowledge the problem, a lack of communication is hampering efforts to prosecute those responsible.

"The cases take such a long time to come to court," said Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) general-secretary Beverley Hamadeh.

"Regrettably, sometimes we tell our clients to go home because it will be too expensive as they can't work or switch sponsors while things are in court."
SL maid rescued
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  Comments - 13

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  • Lawrence De Alwis Wednesday, 14 November 2012 04:55 AM

    When did the poor see justice, irrespective of where they come from? The Foreign Employment Bureau in Sri Lanka, is beyond a laughing matter. It is setup to steal money from innocent people, such as Manjula and millions of others, the very people who elects our greedy leaders.

    Palitha Wednesday, 14 November 2012 04:58 AM

    Firstly, SL should open an embassy in Bahrain. Having Bahrain looked after by Kuwait SL Embassy does not work. The locals are taking advantage of the absence of Embassy as they know there is no one to look after SL People in Bahrain.

    Lawrence De Alwis Wednesday, 14 November 2012 05:10 AM

    What's the point in naming and shaming culprits in a foreign land? Afterall, they are all a bunch of people with no respect to themsleves and others. They will continue to do so with no hesitation. The control lies within our government.

    Bonnie Mallie Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:29 AM

    Name and Shame the employer at least

    Surain Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:28 AM

    thi is the way sri lanka govt wants maids to bring more dollors to country.

    MAN - ZCC Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:32 AM

    MANJUALA THE MATTER WIL HAVE to BE TAKEN BY THE SRI LANKA bUREAU THEY ARE THE CUSTODIANS AND GUARANTORS OF OUR JOB AND SAFETY

    Hussain Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:05 AM

    These Arabs have no compassion to get a woman to work 22 hours per day and then not even pay her the promised salary.
    Why not name & shame them.

    Anura Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:34 AM

    Yes...maids are to work...suffer and send money at the end of month coz... 150 ministers wating to recieve their perks.... now .... it's sad part as the government has neglected them badely

    Hussain Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:09 AM

    Agree with you Jayantha. These people came to money in one generation, before that they were eating dates and riding on camels, fortunately for them the Western oil companies made the rich in one generation. But they are primitive in their actions as they are not educated.

    Saab Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:17 AM

    Agree with Bonnie.
    We need to Name and shame the culprits through the media!!! continuously

    peeris koopa mamaa Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:18 AM

    ko ape maaama nidi da tawama. may ahinsak minisu paw aney. ghin bala pala

    jayantha silva Wednesday, 14 November 2012 12:46 AM

    Shame on Sri Lanka for sending innocent women to work in these primitive countries.

    Jaramaraman Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:25 AM

    Also name and shame the employment agency in Sri Lanka that sends maids to such employers.


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