Nepalese women go abroad for work and return duped and abused

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - There is no data on women who go abroad for employment, but the trend is on the rise in Rupandehi, according to an association of women migrants.

Last week, Geeta Pariyar of Tilottama Municipality in Rupandehi returned home after two years of foreign employment in Dubai—empty-handed and with stories of abuse.

“I had to endure unspeakable miseries. I did not even have the money to buy my airfare home; my friends bought it for me,” Pariyar said in an interview with the Post.

She had gone to Dubai to work as a domestic helper. An agent named Jog Narayan Chaudhary had offered to get her to Dubai, all for Rs60,000. For Pariyar, it sounded like a good deal. By way of illegal channels, Pariyar reached Dubai 15 days after she left home.

In Dubai, Pariyar was tasked with taking care of four children at a house, for which she’d get Rs30,000, exclusive of food and lodging. Six months later, Pariyar sent home Rs100,000. However, her life took a detour when one day, when trying to heat food for the children, she accidentally damaged the micro-oven.

“My life took a turn for the worst that day,” she recalled. “They beat me hard, and I had to make do without any food for three days. I was banned from getting out, and my phone and documents were confiscated.”

When Pariyar went out of contact, her friends who had accompanied her during the trip informed the Nepali Embassy. But since the embassy couldn’t find any legal document on her, her friends had to rescue. They collected the ticket amount so that she could get back home.

In Rupandehi, many women from impoverished backgrounds continue to fly abroad for employment using illicit measures. They are offered a trip by suave agents for a significantly low amount but aren’t given any training on the work they’re going to do; neither do they get the promised salary.

When Maya Aryal from Semalar was offered a foreign employment gig in Kuwait, she was promised a monthly income of Rs35,000. Aryal, a single mother of two, asked her maternal family to take care of the children before flying abroad. In Kuwait, she was tasked with cooking for a family of ten and cleaning the home. But like Pariyar, Aryal was ill-equipped for the job.

“They’d burn my hands with iron and torture me,” Aryal recalled. “I would get only Rs12,000 for salary but never on time.”

There are no data on the number of women who go abroad for employment, but the trend is on the rise, said Janaki Aryal Ghimire, the chair of the association of women emigrants—Aaprabasi Mahila Samuha. The association, which was formed six years ago, has a membership of 800 foreign employment returnees like Pariyar and Aryal.

“The association was formed to mitigate the rising trend of illicit foreign employment gigs,” said Ghimire. “We often meet and share our troubles.”

The association has branched out to ten out of 16 local units in the district. “Most of the women travelling abroad for employment are illiterate and from impoverished backgrounds, so we need to visit their homes and make them aware of possible swindling,” she said. “But many women are still hesitant to share what they went through fearing social backlash.”


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