By ISMAEEL MARIKAR COLOMBO
Housemaids are always in the news.
Saudis need them and the Sri Lankan women would work for them because of their poverty.
This has been going on for years, encouraged by the government, since the government in Colombo too depends on their remittances in much needed dollars.
There have been several instances where housemaids have been abused, humiliated and subjected to whatever maybe, which have driven many to commit suicide. Despite all this, the women want to go to the Middle East and the government is doing everything to export them.
There is an institution called Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment, which charges a fee from all leaving the country for employment abroad. SLBFE is expected to look after their interests and also train them. The question is whether this bureau is doing its job.
Obviously it is not.
As for the latest case where a woman was tortured by having 23 nails driven into her body, I could not figure out how she got through the customs, immigration and metal detectors at the Jeddah Airport. The officials at the airport are very strict. At least that is my experience. The whole thing is intriguing.
With all these nails, how did she manage to travel this distance seated in a plane? The airport authorities and the in-flight staff of the plane have to be questioned. She should have been offloaded and an inquiry begun then and there.
In the same Sri Lankan paper that broke the news for the first time, there was a news item under the heading: “Tortured housemaid in good mental health: Doctors.”
This is really puzzling. Did she undergo “acupuncture” with nails at the hands of a local practitioner?
I hope there will be a proper inquiry and the Saudi government will take suitable action to punish if anyone is found guilty and compensate the victim. In conclusion, I would like to say, “truth is stranger than fiction”. Let us know the truth.