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30 Ugandan girls rescued from Saudi Arabia

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 20th November 2019 11:34 AM

Peace Rugambwa said that the girls, most of whom were in detention facilities in the Middle East country, called her mid this year and narrated their ordeal and desire to return home.

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Peace Rugambwa with some of the girls rescued from Saudi Arabia. Photo by Betty Amamukirori

Peace Rugambwa said that the girls, most of whom were in detention facilities in the Middle East country, called her mid this year and narrated their ordeal and desire to return home.

LABOUR EXPORT    MIDDLE EAST 

KAMPALA - Over 30 Ugandan women, who had gone for Kyeyo in Saudi Arabia, have been rescued after their cries for help were heeded to by the chairperson Bonna bagaggawale Nyekundiire group in South Western Uganda.

Speaking at her home in Kajjansi town council, Peace Rugambwa said that the girls, most of whom were in detention facilities in the Middle East country, called her mid this year and narrated their ordeal and desire to return home.

“When these girls told me their plight, I responded quickly and organized for their return,” she said. The girls jetted into the country on Friday last week.

Speaking to the New Vision, she said that she is going to petition the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) boss, Gen. Salim Saleh, to give the girls capital to startup ventures to support themselves and their families.

"Most of these women are still young girls and they are the future of our nation. If we ignore them then the future of our country will perish. We need to get them what to do. They need capital so that they can start gainful ventures," she stated.

She also promised to petition president Yoweri Museveni on the plight of these girls.

The young women, some with tears drenching their blouses and dresses, recounted how they were abused, tortured and exploited by their Arab employees.

Loyce Akantwala, from Rukungiri, said for the six months she was in Saudi Arabia, she worked without pay and survived on camel milk.

She noted that upon landing Saudi Arabia her passport was confiscated and she was whisked to a huge house where she worked as a housemaid and gardener.

Tracing the scars on her upper arm and shoulders, tears rolled down her cheeks as she narrated how her employees would strangle her and beat her whenever she begged for food.

“Every time I would want to eat food, I would hide to eat the leftovers, and when they find me, they would beat me up. Even when I ask for some water, they would beat me. I got tired and escaped from the home, only to land in the hands of the police who arrested and detained me," she said.

She said when she was transferred to a second detention facility; she got help in the form of a contact person who helped her. That person was Rugambwa.

"She really helped us. She prayed for us and comforted us through messages when we were in prison," she said.

Hadija Nakibuka, a resident of Kiwatule, who went through Forbes, a local labor recruiting agency, expressed how relieved she was to be home.

She narrated how she would work without pay and only surviving from food crabs that remain after a meal.

"I am so happy to be back home. Thank you so much mummy (Rugambwa). We went through a lot of suffering in Saudi Arabia," she said.

The girls asked for financial assistance so that they can start businesses to support their families.

They also called for stringent regulations on labor exports and a well-streamlined system of follow up and supervision to ensure that no Ugandan girl is abused by the Arabs.

Rugambwa said labor export companies need to be held responsible for every Ugandan they take to the Middle East. She said these companies should rise above the money and ensure that Ugandan citizens who pass through their hands are given a decent treatment in these Arab homes.

David Muluga, the chairperson LC 1 of Kitende B in Kajjansi Town council urged the labor exporters to tell the girls the reality on ground and what is expected from them once they set foot in the Middle East.

"Tell the girls the truth instead of exciting them. Tell them the kind of work they are going to do. Tell them the culture of the Arabs. Tell them how those people behave so that when these girls go there, they know what they are going to do and what is expected of them," he said.

 

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