When 26-year-old Nasir Khan went to Saudi Arabia to work as a taxi driver, he found no shortage of customers. One day, however, when Khan picked up a passenger in Riyadh’s blistering heat, the customer refused to pay him. When Khan insisted on his money, the man stabbed him and fled.
Over the last few days, this series has been exploring the issues surrounding labour migration from Sri Lanka, particularly the north. Here are the personal life stories behind the phenomenon. The people living in the post-war north, who feel impelled to migrate for socio-economic reasons.
Barring Nepali women from working as housemaids in the Gulf is both unenforceable and harmful After high profile cases of abuse of Nepali domestics, the government has banned women from migrating for domestic work since early 2017. But outlawing it has driven recruitment underground, increasing the exploitation and risk for Nepali women. Women are still […]
Moving on from Malaysia where domestic workers were not faring particularly well – although still better off in general than the Gulf countries in their estimation – I crossed by land to Singapore. A city state built on migrant labour which continues to thrive on migrant labour. Due to its history, Singapore has a richer […]
More than 80% of our Sri Lankan emigrant labour are absorbed by the Gulf countries, according to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment; 34% of these are women, mostly domestic workers who get paid subsistence level salaries of Rs. 20-30,000 over there. As I went about interviewing various potential labour migrants, migrants’ families as […]
There is a spiking trend in women from war affected areas in the Northern Province migrating to the Gulf and other countries as housemaids – well behind the rest of the country. Complaints regularly crop up about the Government barring them from emigrating on this end, or not doing enough to repatriate them should they […]
An estimated 65,000 women left Sri Lanka’s shores as housemaids in the year 2016. Of these the greatest numberwere from Kurunegala and Colombo – 7,000 from each district as per statistics released by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. The main exodus as per figures released by the SLBFE are from the South, West, […]
It is estimated that over the next few years a large number of Indian labourers will head back home because of economic downturn and political upheavals in West Asian countries. Rehabilitating them will be a big challenge for the Central and State governments. The end is nowhere in sight to the fighting in Yemen, one […]
I’ll call him Kasendra. He is sitting next to me in a packed, sweaty room at the Kathmandu Airport, in one of those uncomfortable iron seats mounted on metal bars. He is clutching a transparent light blue plastic folio and reading the contents within, without taking the documents out. The documents are from a manpower agency in Kathmandu and […]
Suffering beatings, burns and abuse for over a year, a domestic maid escapes from her Kuwaiti employers and finally comes home “I was beaten up daily for silly reasons. I was locked up in a store-room and they used to inflict burns on my body whenever they were angry. They provided only a little food […]