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 Post subject: Maid - AFFIDAVITS
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:00 am 
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IMADR - Sri Lanka Project


Southern Province, Hambanthota District

H 1.

Name of the Person : Disna Shriyanjani Wepathaera
Batugaha Koratuwa
Heenara - Hakuruwela
Hambantota District

Country of employment: Jordan
Address of Employer: MOHAMEN AL MUFLEH
P.O.Box 921689

Date of Departure: 1996. 02.29
Worked for one year

She was assaulted and harassed at the place of work. She was pushed from the building while cleaning the windows. Her leg was broken in three places as a result. She has springs fixed to her leg. For 5 months she was not paid a salary. Though she was to receive a compensation payment of Rs.50,000 (ordered by the Jordan Police) her employers sent her back to Sri Lanka without making this payment.

Documentation available : Letters sent home
Medical Reports


Name : K.A.Karunawathi
Address: Batugaha Koratuwa, Heenara - Hakuruwela, Hambantota District
Departure : 1996.11.09
Two years of Employment

She had to work in two houses. She was continuously abused, threatened and assaulted. She was paid not by the person who employed her as a domestic but by the second household made the payments. She was not paid by either household for 6 months. She got her family in Sri Lanka to send her a telegram to get her down. She was dispatched to the airport without giving her any money.


Name: Iranganie Weerasinghe, Galagedera, Pohoraliyadda, Kahalpitiya
Departure: 1998. 06.22
Death notified by friends to the family.

Iranganie Weerasinghe 39 years of age and a mother of 2 children left her home at Galagedera, Sri Lanka on 22.06.1998 full of hopes. Her death was not to be one such unknown incidents that exposes hundreds of Sri Lankan women to such a fate.

She lived in a small hut in Sri Lanka and one of her objectives was to rebuild a new homestead for her. Her husband was ill for quite some time and it was her intention to send her earnings back home so that the children's welfare is looked after. But it took only six months for her to die at the hands of her employers after facing grievous injuries.

Her husband Herath Banda who is 53 years old is an asthmatic patient. He heard of what happened to his wife on 25.11.98 by an anonymous letter sent to him from Saudi Arabia.

Iranganie Weerasinghe's body cut into pieces was found by the Police and had been handed over to the Guseth General Hospital. We found the telephone number which was in her possession. That is how we managed to trace her relatives in Sri Lanka. The Police had found several letters written by her to be sent home. In those letters she had urged her family to get her home as soon as possible. But unfortunately her family had never received these letters. That wicked man had not posted a single letter Finally he had killed her as stated in this letter.

According to this in formation she has worked firstly at Kalid Hilshamila for one Al Shains who was a Saudi national. Subsequently he had sold her to another man named Haindan. Her address was Sakaka, Aljoph.

Her family had received only one letter since her departure. That too was the one she wrote in the plane posted immediately on arrival in Saudi. The family paid Rs.8000/-. This money had been borrowed from friends. The Agent was a contact of a Muslim friend known to them.

North-Central Province, Anuradhapura District


Name: S.M.Sepalika
Date of Birth: 1957.01.10
Address: Aswadduwa, Kelakarabewa, Anuradhapura District
Country of Employment: Saudi Arabia
Departure: 1998.07.22
Return: 1998.11.10

I left the Colombo Airport and reached Baharain. I reached Saudi airport on 22.7.98 and had to spend the night there. On 23.7.98 we were brought in a bus to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi. We spent 3 days at the Embassy and after 3 days 2 men came to the office and took me and another person. The son and the daughter came and took us to the house where I was to work. They gave me food and requested me to sleep. They gave me a dress and requested me to wear it.

After I woke up the Mamma of the house explained the work I had to do. I performed my work accordingly. I told Mamma since I could not write to help me to send a letter to my home. The baba (the man of the house) of the house bought me a small radio and a cassette piece. This was sent home. I received a letter from home and took it to the daughter-in-law's house where another Sri Lankan domestic was working. She helped me to send letters back to Sri Lanka. She left for Sri Lanka and I became totally helpless. The treatment given me suddenly began to change. When mama went for the funeral the daughter did not give me food. She hit me and abused me. While I had some problem in my chest I was given hard work. As a result I became ill.

I had to work in several other houses too. These were households of their children. As my illness became severe the son inquired whether I wished to go back home. I consented. They had paid me a month's wage. This was taken to purchase the ticket to send me back to Sri Lanka. The womenfolk in the house hid my clothes. As I was leaving to the Airport I told Baba that I have no money to take back to Sri Lanka. He gave me 50 Riyal. The daughter who came to drop me to the airport took 10 Riyal from me.

I changed the 40 Riyals at the cash counter in the airport. The gentleman who was there gave me Rs.100/- extra and I had Rs.676/- in my hand. I paid Rs.500/- loan taken prior to my departure to Saudi.

I am a mother of two children. I have a son and a daughter. My husband committed suicide on 98.01.05 by taking poison. We have no land to cultivate. My daughter married at the age of 23. She has a child who is 11/2 years old. Her husband has left her. She is working in a garment factory. She receives only Rs.300. My son is working as a labourer.


Name: D. Dhanawathie
Address: Thilakapura - Kalakarabawa
Anuradhapura District
Age: 41 years with 3 children
Departure: 1994.4.2

I had married without the consent of my parents. My husband has no permanent employment. I have passed GCE (AL). I decided to find a job outside Sri Lanka to help my family to overcome the dire financial situation.

A cousin sister working abroad helped me to obtain a visa. I got a job in Dohar Qatar. I went to Dohar on April 2, 1994. The father of my employers wife who was 65 years old tried to sexually abuse me. I shouted out to the other maid to come and help me. As she came running towards me the man went away. I became afraid after this incident and this made me faint from time to time.

My employer did not know anything about this incident. She requested me to help her daughter to study English. I did not have such knowledge. As a result of my inability to teach her English and my illness which made me feeble I was sent back to Sri Lanka. I am now back in Sri Lanka heavily indebted to many people.


Name: E.M.Karunawathi Date of Birth: 22.12.1954
Address: Aluth Akkaraya (New Acre), Kalakarabawa
Date of Departure: 1997.11.12
Date of Arrival: 1998.03.08
Employment Agency: Nilwala Agency Ridigama
Country of Employment: Saudi Arabia

I left for Saudi Arabia on 12.11.97. It was early morning when we reached the Saudi Airport. The Employer was not there at the airport to receive me. We spent time at the agency. We were given a dinner packet and a bottle of water. I was taken to a house the next day.

The house was a one storey building. There were 15 members in the household. I had to do all the cleaning in the house. Cooking was done by another maid. I was never allowed to eat with the family. I was served a spoonful of rice and a piece of meat. Since I do not eat beef I ate only the plain rice. Though they purchased boxes of fruits I was not given any fruits. Occasionally when a fruit is given it is so rotten that I am unable to consume it.

Though I work hard under difficult conditions no wage was paid to me. I requested them to pay me a wage to send back home. They ignored this request. They postponed paying me. As I could not any longer tolerate this situation I began to insist that I should be sent back to Sri Lanka. They finally heeded to my demand. I was sent back home without making any payment for the period I worked for them. The old clothes given to me was also taken back.

When I arrived in Sri Lanka several people at the Kartunayake airport seen my plight inquired as to what had happened to me. They immediately collected Rs.500/- and gave me to get back home. I met a neighbour who dropped me near my house, subsequently my husband came and took me to my house. We complained to the Agency and they got Rs.4000/- from Insurance.


Name: K.D.G.Karunawathi
Addresss: Thilakapura Kalakarabewa Anuradhapura District
Date of Birth: 15.12.1965
Departure: 13.10.1996
Arrival: 10.09.1998
Country of Employment: Saudi Arabia Riyadh
Nature of Employment: Housemaid

I left for Saudi Arabia on 14.8.1996. I was taken to the Agency to await the arrival of the Employer. His brother came to pick me up. I was first taken to the brothers house. He took me to the back of the house and gave me a mat to sit on. I was asked to come into the house in the night. I spent 3 days in this house I was given food which was unclean or spoilt. There was an Indonesian girl in this house. I could not understand the Saudi language.

With the little English I knew I inquired as to why I was brought here. I was told that I have to go to the brothers house to work and I am kept here temporarily. On the third my employer came to pick me up. I was shown the kitchen and a room and asked where I wished to stay. I chose the room. The room was air-conditioned. I got fever after 3 days and they treated me. I got fever once again. I told the employer that I cannot sleep in an A/C room. He then bought me a fan.

Although I sent letters home regularly I had no communication from Sri Lanka. After 3 months my husband called me with the assistance of the Agency that sent me. I did not receive wages for 3 months. I cried requesting them to give me my wages. After this incident they agreed to pay me the wages after every two months. I received wages for 10 months regularly. The balance was promised to be paid when I was going back to Sri Lanka. But they did not keep their promise. I went and complained to the Police and through their intervention I received my salary for 8 months. The employer said he has to spend my balance salary to pay for my ticket.

The Employers wife took away all the clothes given to me. I was allowed to keep only the few pieces of clothing given to me by the sister of my employer. The second son of my employer tried to molest me and use me for his sexual desires. I resisted all this overtures. My employer promised to give me more money if I consented to his wishes. As I was not willing they made it difficult for me. They even put chewing-gum into the glass of milk I drank. Though I came back on 10.9.98 I did not get any insurance although we paid Rs.5200 to 'Suraksha Insurance Scheme.


Name: W.Piyaseeli
Date of Birth: 19.05.1963
Country of
Employment: Kuwait
Date of Departure: 24.01.95
Date of Arrival: 07.09.96
Agency: situated in Maradana

I went to Kuwait and remained at the Agency till my employer came to take me away. The wife of the employer came to take me away. The wife of the employer did not wish to have me as I had a scar on my face. I told her that it was a result of a fall I had but she refused to listen. They took me to another house and they were willing to employ me.

The Employer had 2 wives and 20 children. They all lived in this house which was a two storied building. I was burdened with a lot of work. I performed my duties properly as I was keen to work and stay on. I was not given food regularly. I had to steal to fulfil my hunger. The Sri Lankan maid of the neighbour used to give me food when there was nobody in that house. But she could not do this always.

After 2 months I requested them for my wage to send home. The woman of the house slapped me. I tolerated this abuse fearing that they will chase me away. After a few weeks I asked for my wages again. The employer hit me hard on my ear and as a result I lost my hearing. On several occasions he tried to abuse me. As they continued to abuse me one day I ran away from the house with the help of the Sri Lankan maid. She gave the taxi Driver 1 Dinar to take me to the Sri Lanka Embassy. I spent 9 months there.

Some others in the camp collected money and sent me home while in Kuwait I went to the Agency who sent me. I was beaten there and was forced to go back to the employer. When my husband went to the Agency at maradana to complain he was threatened by them. The Agency did not take any money from me. But they have taken money from my employer. A Summary of the life led by the Return Foreign Employed Women workers spread throughout the Divisional Secretariat area of Baddegama - Southern Province.

The majority of women who migrate do so to relieve the burden of poverty. Their main objective is to provide a stable income to relieve the financial burdens of the family. They migrate with the dream of providing a good education for their children, look after the welfare of the parents.

All women workers whom we met have shared with us how they survive the hard work and miserable working hours to fulfil these ambitions. With all such hopes they work in a foreign country. The foreign exchange that flows into Sri Lanka is the hard earned income of these men and women. Several women told us how they forget the hardship as soon as they receive the wage into their hands.

Living in a dream world of their own these women send their hard earned money to their loved ones back home. Our conversation with them revealed that the money they send is not being used properly by their husbands and children. In some instances they spoke in grief between tears as their hopes have been shattered. The mother who leaves for the Middle East has no other option but to leave the children in the care of their father. In most cases the fathers find solace in liquor. Thus the hard earned money sent by his wife to supplement the family income is spent on the liquor. It does not stop at that his wife's absence is taken on their daughter, born out of their own flesh and blood. The daughter is unable to expose the sexual harassment due to fear of reprisal. We met one such family.

The women also spoke to us how their men begin other relationships and how children get abandoned. The wife's hard earned money is spent for the enjoyment of the man. The woman realises this only when she gets back home. In such situations the most fortunate gets another chance to migrate and at times she never comes back home. Or either she then breaks away from the man and gets one of her family members to look after the welfare of the children.

There are families whose children's education has been completely disrupted. " We go abroad for the sake of the children's education but when we return after 2 or 3 years the disruption in their education cannot be avoided." The present education system heaps small children with the burdened of homework. The father is unable to assist them.

Furthermore the children are frightened to approach the father to ask for money to buy the necessary school requirements as most often they are abused for bothering him. When they go to the school the teachers punish them for not bringing the required school items. Due to this reason children of migrant women workers families end up becoming school dropouts. After that they gang up and get involved in social evils like robbing or taking drugs. In the case of girls it is a slightly different story. For a girl between the ages of 14 - 16 parental love is extremely necessary. When Young girls do not rely much on the father. When the mothers return the little daughter whom she left behind is now a grown up woman married or living with a man much older than her.

We also learnt that along with TV and Video decks that some of the returnees also bring with them Blue Films to the village. According to some villagers there is an increase of sexual crimes. We next discussed with these women the problems they face at the Foreign Employment Agency. Some women use another's photo on their passport. This creates a dangerous situation for them. When such incidents are exposed they face a great ordeal at the airport. If they are detected they do not get the opportunity to go to the Middle East but end up behind bars.

Those who get a job as house maids often have a doubt in their minds as to what problems they will be facing in the foreign household. Sometimes when they are harassed by the master or the mistress of the house they run away. Then the situation becomes tragic and dangerous for them. If they get caught false charges are framed and the workers get imprisoned or damages are claimed by legal means or is sent back to the country of origin most often without making any payment. Whose help can these debt-ridden women seek now? Some women who have mortgaged their house and property or taken loans on interest when sent back forcibly in this manner are unable to pay back the money taken for their airfare. How many such women are there?

When women get stranded they seek the help of the Sri Lankan Embassy in that country. This is like hanging on to a straw as the last resort. Unfortunately the women who spoke to us had nothing good to say about the Sri Lankan missions abroad. According to them this is like falling from the frying pan to the fire as they fall prey to the embassy officials who wants to fulfil their sexual desires by using these women who come to them in a state of desperation.

When the families do not hear from the woman for a long period they try to call the household to inquire into the welfare of their family members with the help of somebody who could speak the language. We were told by many how the Middle Eastern household deny the existence of the maid with them. Most of the time the housemaid is treated like a slave without any outside communication. How many of these women are kept under house detention? It was revealed that women who go through job agencies face many problems in comparison to those who gets air tickets from their relatives.

The women who go as housemaids carry with them such high hopes. How many such women are disappointed is anybody's guess. Amidst all the trials and tribulations their hopes and aspirations vanish away with the wind. Their stories revealed to us shattered family life, uncertainty of the future of their children whose education is disrupted and the lose of the only house or the property owned by them due to non-payment of the loan. Those who have worked in a foreign country and return find it difficult to save any money.

Although they have been abroad for years they do not have enough money to spend due to the high cost of living and as they do not have any solution to this problem they make every effort to go back again for the sake of their children.

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