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15 Abused Nepali Women Stranded in Saudi

On November 8, 2009

Fifteen Nepali women are stranded in a half-way house run by a charity in Saudi Arabia after fleeing from abusive employers, according to this story in the Himalayan Times. The women are illegal migrants and according to Nepal's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hamid Ansari, were travelling without any papers or identification.

An estimated 500,000 Nepalis work in blue collar jobs in Saudi Arabia, but half of them are believed to be illegal. The Nepali government has banned female citizens from working in Saudi Arabia due to the high incidence of violence and sexual abuse by employers. However, between 30 and 40 Nepali women travel every day to Saudi via India to take up jobs as domestic workers.

Without travel papers or passports, illegal workers in Saudi are stuck in limbo if they face abuse at work or lose their jobs, unable to return to their home countries or to find alternative employment. As Migrant Rights reported last week, huge numbers of workers now find themselves in this situation in Saudi Arabia, with over 1000 living under a bridge in Jeddah desperately hoping to be deported.