Migrant workers from Pakistan’s villages arrive in the oil rich country UAE with dreams of making good money to send home. They work tirelessly for a meagre salary which is often not paid on time. These migrant labourers struggle with depression and anxiety and the fear that their passports will be confiscated. They live difficult lives in Dubai and Sharjah where media is not encouraged to report on the ground reality. The labourers are often confined and their new dream is to make it back home to Pakistan to work on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor – which presents new opportunities for businesses and jobs – and for prosperous lives.
It is a city renowned for glitz, glamour and boasts the world’s tallest building. But there’s an ugly side that you won’t read about in its tourist brochures. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and a popular tourist destination — its army of migrant workers. The workers, who are largely from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh & Nepal, are paid well below the prices charged in the city’s expensive boutiques and glamorous hotels. The migrant workers are not only at greater risk of exploration, but are often housed in filthy conditions, with little down time. In short they are the hidden slaves of a rich city.Mid of August 2017 I traveled UAE with one of my journalist colleague for a week. This travel was planned as we wanted to do have some good stories on Pakistani Migrant workers in UAE. So during our stay in UAE we visited Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman & Abu Dhabi. We visited so many labour camps in these Emirates and have meetings with labours. In Dubai we went SONA PUR LABOUR CAMP which is a very famous place for labours and everybody in the city knows well about this place in regard of labours residential camps. During our meeting with labours I have heard that Migrant workers make up a large majority of Dubai’s private sector staff. While exact figures are not known, it is estimated that there are three million of these workers in the UAE alone. Domestic workers were particularly vulnerable to abuse as they don’t have the minimal protection afforded by UAE labour law. Continue reading
क्वालालम्पुरको जलान अम्पाङस्थित नेपाली दूतावासमा हतास मुद्रामा भेटिए, रोशन भट्ट । रावाङको एक कागजे झोला बनाउने कम्पनीमा पाँच वर्षदेखि कार्यरत उनी पछिल्ला दुई वर्षयता भने गैरकानुनी कामदारको हैसियतमा थिए । काठमाडौं बसुन्धरास्थित घरबाट बिरामी आमाले बारम्बार बोलाएपछि उनले मन थाम्न सकेनन् । त्यसैले फर्कन हतारिएका थिए । तर गैरकानुनी हैसियतमा भएकै कारण उनलाई घर फर्किन महँगो परिरहेको थियो । २६ सय रिंगिट अर्थात् नेपाली ६५ हजार नेपाली रुपैयाँ ‘दलाल’ को हातमा सुम्पेर घर फर्कने मेलोमेसो मिलाउँदै थिए उनी । भट्टले तिरेको पैसा ‘आवश्यक’ रकमभन्दा एक तिहाइले बढी हो ।
वैशाखयताको चार महिनामा मात्रै उनीजस्तै ६ हजार ६ सय ८३ गैरकानुनी हैसियतका नेपाली कामदारले ट्राभल डकुमेन्ट बनाएको दूतावासको रेकर्ड छ । अहिले ‘विधिसम्मत’ रूपमा प्रत्येक कामदारले घर फर्कंदा हवाई शुल्कसहित कम्तीमा २३ सय रिंगिट खर्च गर्नुपर्ने देखिन्छ । जसमा ट्राभल डकुमेन्टका लागि १ सय ६० रिंगिट, फोटोका लागि २० रिंगिट, घरफिर्ती प्रक्रियाका लागि मलेसिया सरकारले तोकेको कम्पनी हारफासेले लिने सेवा शुल्क ५ सय ५० रिंगिट, मलेसियाको अध्यागमन कार्यालयमा बुझाउनुपर्ने ४ सय रिंगिट र हवाई शुल्क समेटिएको हुन्छ । Continue reading
The story published in Samakalika Malayalam Weekly, belonging to The New Indian Express Group, portrays the sordid tales of Indian women domestic workers who were trafficked to Gulf countries and subjected to forced labour.
The story tells the sufferings of five domestic workers who suffered a lot in the foreign land and had to flee empty handed in fear of life. The story exposes the loop holes in the so-called tight rules ‘helping’ trafficking. It also shows how less women domestic workers are protected in a foreign country are.
PDF in Malayalam weekly can be downloaded here.