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Jayanadani A.

2006 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements.

Jayanadani A. was trapped in domestic servitude in Saudi Arabia. She explains her husband’s reaction upon finding out she had been raped and impregnated by her Saudi employer.

My husband beat me when I told him what happened. He threatened to kill me by choking me and pressing my neck and he kicked me on the back while I was sleeping. He told me to leave…. I did not even want to come to my village to give birth to the baby. Because in my village people come to know it is a shame … it’s a shameful thing … and we are not accepted.

Whenever I had pending [salary] of 1,200 riyals [$312], they paid me only 800 riyals. They would take my signature for giving me money.

I was crying every day, thinking about it…. I spoke to the Sri Lankan embassy in Sinhala and they told me they cannot come in search of me. Instead, they told me that I should run away and come to the embassy. I did not run away because I was scared.


Narrative credit to Human Rights Watch

Original Narrative can be found in Human Rights Watch Report “As If I am Not Human”: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia