Andhra Pradesh minister for non-resident Indian welfare, Palle Raghunatha Reddy has sought the help of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to rescue women from states like Andhra and Telangana. these women languishing in jails in Gulf states after they attempted to flee abusive employers or overstayed their visas.
Women from Andhra Pradesh and the neighbouring state of Telangana are sold like products in a retail shop, Reddy wrote in a letter sent to Swaraj last week.
“Sold like products in a retail shop”
He also urged the government to take steps to bring them to their native areas safely by providing free travel and necessary visa documents adding that embassy officials in Gulf countries should be asked to interfere and provide necessary help in terms of food, clothing and shelter to those in distress.
He also claimed that women from India are being sold “Women are being sold to the tune of 400,000 rupees ($6,000)in Saudi Arabia and between 100,000 ($1,500) to 200,000 rupees ($3,000) in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait,” he wrote.
The minister’s letter comes amid reports of women trapped in Gulf countries seeking help from the government to rescue them. There is no official data on the exact count of the migrants stranded in Gulf countries but experts put the numbers in tens of thousands, many of them in jail.
Government figures show there are an estimated six million Indian migrants in the six Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman.
These include women who leave their villages to take up jobs overseas paying up to three times more than in India, putting their fate in the hands of recruitment agents, who often dupe them.