“Migrants Resource Centres not only empower youth but their families too to fight against all the odds”
Veer (name changed), a 35-year-old resident from Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, was an in-service migrant who had worked for 9 years in different GCC countries. Veer is married and has a joint family whose primary source of income is agriculture. He planned to go abroad on a tourist visa again to make a living, but this time, he was oblivious of the dangers he would face as a result of his tourist visa. Veer after arriving in Saudi Arabia started working on a tourist visa for an organization.
During the community meeting at Kushinagar, an elderly man began to cry and told the tale of his son who went to Saudi Arabia to work but was subjected to forced labour conditions. The ASK team consoled him and informed that his son would be returned with the support of MRC. The Panchayat Facilitators informed the block coordinator, who promptly met with the elderly man and his family members who were afraid and in a very sad state.
Veer’s father said, Veer had previously visited the GCC and had worked for 9 years, during which he had returned home numerous times, but for the last three years he hasn’t come once since the employer isn’t allowing him to travel home, despite our son’s desire to return.
While communicating with Veer’s family, it was discovered that Veer had been working for a telecommunications company in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) for the past three years and began experiencing health concerns while working; following a medical exam, the doctor diagnosed him as a high diabetic patient and gave him medications. Veer informed his employer about his health issues and requested leave, but his employer denied and also did not give any basic amenities. When Veer’s pain worsened due to insufficient treatment and health facilities, and after requesting leave several times, he finally discussed the entire experience with his family in the hopes that they would help him escape from that organization. Veer’s father filed a complaint with the local police station and subsequently visited the area’s Member of Legislative Assembly in the hope of support, but none was given.
The MRC team documented a legal case after listening to Veer’s father, and simultaneously, it was immediately communicated with the POE UP for quick action and assistance.
Soon after, officials from the POE office alerted the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, who contacted company officials and began legal proceedings against them; as a result of their vigorous follow-up, the organization decided to release Veer based on his health situation. Proactive assistance from the POE and the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia resulted in the successful rescue of Veer from forced labour; the firm settled his debts and gave him a return flying ticket to India. Now, Veer has been residing with his family for the past two months.
Pic: Veer after returning to India from Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
I really appreciate the initiative’s interventions and am grateful to MRC and its project staff for rescuing me, I would also suggest my friends, relatives, and everyone adopts a safe migration process, said Veer.
I will always be thankful to the MRC team for their support and vigorous follow-up which as a result, brings me back home with the family, said Veer’s Father.
The MRC has been established under the project for providing information on safe migration processes, verification of legal documents like visas, legal aid, counselling for migrants and their family members, etc.
ASK is working with the source migrant communities in Bihar and UP who move to Gulf countries for blue-collar jobs. We empower them to take steps towards a safe migration process so that they do not become victims of forced labour conditions at the destination. The project is in partnership with Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), and NORAD which aims to reach 4000 migrants.