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.
Dian W. travelled to Saudi Arabia as a domestic worker, but what she found was physical and sexual abuse. She was raped by her employer and his son, having a baby as a result of the assaults. Dian ran away to the embassy shelter with her child in the hopes of returning home.
I wanted to get out and went to the embassy shelter
The police officer said, ‘Wait, if you want a letter from the police and the chance to sleep at the shelter, you should sleep with me and tomorrow you can enter the shelter.
They just give promises and promises that I will go, but it has been a year and nothing has happened…. At least they could inform me on what level is my case…. No one is looking out for me. At least I should have an explanation, whether I get justice or not. I want to go home and work and raise my child
If anyone is sick, it is difficult to go to the hospital because they need a letter from the embassy or a letter from the police. My baby has a cough and cold…. I have to manage on my own. There has been no check up for the baby after birth. It is very hard to buy cheap medicine, even to buy diapers is very hard because it is very expensive. If someone is going home, they give me ten riyals. It costs 55 riyals to buy diapers. The embassy does not pay for diapers. I get nothing from the embassy.
Credit to Human Rights Watch
Original Narrative in “As If I Am Not Human”: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia