30 Uganda female workers return after Saudi ‘ordeal’


More than 30 Ugandan women in Saudi Arabia have been rescued after their “ordeal” led them to appeal to return home, the New Vision Ugandan website reported Wednesday.

Most of the women “were in detention facilities” in Saudi Arabia, and urged the head of a women’s advocacy group in southwestern Uganda, Peace Rugambwa, to facilitate their return home since the middle of the year.

“When these girls told me their plight, I responded quickly and organized for their return,” Rugambwa was was quoted by website.

The girls were brought to Uganda last Friday, New Vision reported.

The young women explained how they have been “abused, tortured and exploited by their Arab employees,” according to New Vision.

Loyce Akantwala told the New Vision she worked for six months without receiving salary payments.

After landing in Saudi Arabia, her passport was confiscated. She was “whisked to a huge house where she worked as a housemaid and gardener,” according to the report.

“Every time I would want to eat food, I would hide to eat the leftovers, and when they find me, they would beat me up. Even when I ask for some water, they would beat me. I got tired and escaped from the home, only to land in the hands of the police who arrested and detained me,” she said.

The women have called for “stringent regulations on labor exports” through which they have been sent to Saudi Arabia. They also demand a “well-streamlined system of follow up and supervision.”

Rugambwa, stressed that labor export companies should be held responsible “for every Ugandan they take to the Middle East.”

“The Saudi authorities are failing to enforce their labor laws to address a number of inhumane abuses against foreign workers who are now living under slave-like conditions,” the Euro-Med Monitor organization said in a 2017 report.

It referred to the Saudi sponsorship system where working conditions of foreign workers is considerably affected, and demanded reform or abolishing it.

According to the same report, Saudi authorities have forced thousands of foreign workers to leave, where “they were severely abused by security forces and Saudi nationals during their detention and deportation.”
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