Abused African Ladies Cry Out For Rescue In Saudi Arabia

By Farouk Martins Aresa

News about domestic helps abuse in Saudi have been around for a while but they are mostly from Pilipino house helps. There was a report about abuse of Kenyan women as far back as 2015 that was reported locally and on BBC. The bad news we get from Saudi Arabia are from Africans on pilgrimage and some abusing their visa to commit deplorable crimes, especially Nigerians despite the severe punishment of beheading.

Nigerians young ladies and other Africans are crying out from Saudi Arabia! These are young women that neither had any desire to sell their bodies by taking oath nor did they swear at the shrine in order to become prostitutes. They paid agents good money with the hope of securing decent jobs in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, ladies include very young girls let go by unscrupulous parents. There are African agents in many cities including Abuja, Accra and Nairobi recruiting domestic helps into Saudi Arabia as slaves.

These young ladies are sending chilling cries back home begging for their rescue. Most African countries used to send their youths to Nigeria as varieties of helps including light skin Arab beggars on our streets from North Africa in the eighties. There were so many in Lagos willing to do anything including young girls getting pregnant for touts and area boys, until Action Governor Lateef Jakande declared free primary school for everyone.

Yes, some of us may still remember that some parents were mad at Jakande because they could not find house helps. They preferred free education. This has now become ancient history. It was Libya that caught our attention during the civil war when Gadhafi and the rebels were using Africans as mercenaries. Not only did these Africans pay dearly when caught by both sides, so were Libyan blacks mistaken for African blacks.

Abuse of domestic helps in Saudi Arabia is not new. The Philippine Government had to step in to stop their women from sexual, physical and mental abuse prompting Saudi Government to punish only the most egregious offenders. Cries coming from Saudi Arabia are now those of African ladies used as slaves in many of their homes.

Saudi Arabia is not Libya. Many African Muslims see Mecca as a “Holy Land”. There were reports at one time of stranded African women during their pilgrimage to Mecca turning to prostitutes to fend for themselves. These young ladies are not part of them.

In the case of Libya, the attention and outrage over Africans’ plight shamed Nigeria, Ghana and other countries to send chartered planes to Libya to bring Africans home.

Saudi Arabia nko? Who is going to deliver domestic house slaves from Saudi Arabia? In the first place, unscrupulous recruiters or agents must be treated like recruiters of young girls for prostitution in Europe. A curse on them by traditional ruler is not enough. Agents demand heavy amount from these young ladies promising training, good jobs and benefits. Only to turn around and demand more from their Saudi employers or masters.

The ill-treatment and sexual slavery Saudi subjected African ladies to have a long history within the Arabian countries. These girls are now begging anyone that can rescue them to please come to their aid and pressure African countries to bring them home. There is certainly enough fault on their part for falling into these hopeless schemes in the first place; paying agents money that could have been used to start their businesses at home.

If it was only Africans young ladies that were testifying to rape, sleep deprivation and physical abuse in Saudi Arabia, we may want to doubt them because these Saudi Arabians are good Muslims. However, there are enough cries from others indicating the most inhuman treatment by these Saudi men, their sons and wives against domestic helps treated as slaves.

There was a woman from Kurigram in northern Bangladesh that went to Saudi Arabia hoping to make money as a housemaid. She became pregnant after she was raped by her employer. This particular lady had to take shelter at the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh before she was sent back home, broken into pieces for life! They are usually blamed and punished for seducing their Saudi employers and their sons.

Even US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned a Saudi Arabian court decision to drop charges against an employer accused of abusing an Indonesian maid so severely that she lost her fingers and toes in 2009. They are the victims that come to the attention of others. Some lost their lives, buried shamelessly, without outside witness.

Whatever, Arabs are not very fair to Africans from time memorial. We do not have to go back to the history of Africans in Basra, Iraq. The fact is that Government of Philippine had to re-evaluate and discourage their women with visa from going to Arab countries as domestic helpers and actually brought others home. It speaks against the Arabs that spread religion and piety in Africa. This is the other side of devilish act .

Few African leaders care very little about their own citizens in Saudi Arabia as the Filipino President. If they do, these demeaning exodus from our countries would have been at a minimum. The rate some of our youths pay to get out taking their chances and knowing the odds against them is pitiful. It shows how far some of us are going to make money by selling our youths, anyway possible.

We think people can be wicked to one another but Saudi Arabia stories can be most shocking as in a case that came out in 2014 when a Sri Lankan maid returned from Saudi Arabia with 24 nails inside her body. The woman alleged that her Saudi employer had tortured her and drove nails into her body as punishment.

There are more, not only from Africans but in another incident, Indonesian housemaid Sumiati Binti Mustapa, 23, was severely beaten by her Saudi employer who put a hot iron to her head , mutilated her with scissors and left her with broken bones and internal bleeding in 2010. The offender was later sentenced to three years jail.

The Africans have certain infatuation with Arabs dating back to the times of Ghana, Songhai and Kanem Bornu Empires. While there were mutual trade and respect for one another, the leaders of these African Empires accepted the Muslim religion half-heartedly. It was not out of conviction but to protect their boundaries from wars and raiders that eventually brought down the last African Empire..