Gender & SGBVHuman RightsNews

Trafficked Nigerian Women Remain Stranded in Saudi Arabia in Dire Conditions – JIFORM

An additional 138 women have been trafficked to Saudi Arabia and are in critical health conditions, according to Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM).

The women were trafficked to the country by a company identified as Team Time Company (TTCO), a Saudi Arabian-based recruitment company for expatriate workers.

This comes only days after it was discovered that an additional 30 women who had also been trafficked to the Middle Eastern country of Lebanon have also remained stranded with no means of returning home.

The rate of unemployment and quality of living has pushed African youth to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Libya and other Arab countries in search of work, slackening the labour export sector.

Thousands of young women continue to be lured by promises of instant jobs abroad, usually domestic work and sexual exploitation, suffering maltreatment from their employers, which is not limited to physical and sexual abuse.

The JIFORM, President, Ajibola Abayomi, said some of the women on list of stranded Nigerians in Saudi Arabia included 23-year-old Kano indigene Amina Idris, 25-year-old Gift Israel Johnny from Rivers, and two Oyo State indigenes, 37-year-old Salawu Yetunde Victoria and 42-year-old Atanda Easter Idowu.

Ms Omotola Fawunmi, the Executive Director of RAIS, said so far, a temporary arrangement had been made for treatment of those in critical condition in Saudi Arabia.

One of the victims, a 26 year old graduate of English and Social Studies from Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education in Lagos, who pleaded for anonymity, said all efforts to reach out to the Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia had been unsuccessful, with the desk officers simply refusing to attend to them and turning them away.

Narrating the horrendous treatment she suffered at the hands of her employer. With a salary of about N70,000 monthly, she said she applied to work as a teacher in Saudi Arabia through her agents in 2018, but ended up being given out as a domestic house help when she got there, and is now struggling to find a way back home.

The Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, has already made arrangements for 55 of the 120 victims stranded in Lebanon to return to Nigeria on a special flight slated for August 12, with the assistance of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

The dire conditions stranded Nigerians are subjected to in the Middle East “remains worrisome,” according to the media lead of the Migrant Project (TMP) Tayo Elegbede, calling on relevant authorities to intervene and ensure the women and other Nigerians living in such situations abroad are brought back home safe and sound.

“Unarguably, there is the need to address the fundamental factors responsible for gross undocumented migration of Nigerians, particularly from southwest states, to Middle East countries.

“Public campaigns and enlightenment on the risk and realities of irregular migration and human trafficking need to be advanced across the nooks and crannies of the country, whilst providing viable alternatives,” Elegbede stated.

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Hafsah Abubakar Matazu

Hafsah Abubakar Matazu is the current Programme Director at HumAngle. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Mass Communication from Baze University Abuja. Prior to joining HumAngle, she worked for Abuja-based Daily Trust Newspapers as an investigative reporter. She leads the program team in planning and implementing grants as well as funded and non funded reporting projects. She tweets via @hafsahabubakar_

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