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  • 300,000 Bangladeshi women have traveled to Saudi Arabia for work since the beginning of the nineties.

    300,000 Bangladeshi women have traveled to Saudi Arabia for work since the beginning of the nineties. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 November 2019

“I will probably not live longer. Please save me,” the alleged victim said imploring for help in a video. 

Bangladesh demanded Sunday the repatriation of a woman who has been working in Saudi Arabia after a video was published in which she claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse and torture from her employers.

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Sumi Akter said she suffered “brutal” and “repeated sexual assault” in the video posted on Facebook and watched by thousands of users.

“I will probably not live longer. Please save me,” Akter said imploring for help. 

The 25-year-old says her employers “locked her up for 15 days, with virtually nothing to eat," adding that they "burned" her hands with boiling oil.

The Bangladeshi government urged the state agency responsible for sending people to work abroad, to send the woman back home "as soon as possible."

A government spokesman Atiqur Rahman also said his country would pursue unscrupulous recruitment agencies that exploit these women, allegedly selling them to other brokers.

Last month, Bangladeshi migrant rights group Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program said 61 percent of 110 women they interviewed who came back to their country, many from Saudi Arabia, claimed they were physically abused.

Some 14 percent said they were sexually abused, the group added.

Dhaka-based BRAC, one of the world's largest charities, said this year alone, the bodies of 48 female workers were returned from the Gulf nation.

For his part, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Thursday that there would be no ban imposed on women going to work in Saudi Arabia, absolving the Gulf country from any responsibility despite human rights groups have been denouncing for years the exploitation and abuses suffered by migrant workers in the countries of the region.

"Saudi Arabia admitted some people are being victimized. But that is happening for a few handfuls of people. The Saudi government isn't making them victims," he told reporters.

According to the ministry of expatriates' welfare, some 300,000 Bangladeshi women have traveled to Saudi Arabia for work since the beginning of the nineties.

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