26 January 2016

Uganda: Seven Ugandan Girls Return Home As Government Intervenes in Saudi Labour Debacle

Seven Ugandan women have been facilitated to return home from a shelter jointly operated by the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Social Affairs in Riyadh, following intervention by the Ugandan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This reportedly followed complaints from young women of Ugandan origin stranded in Saudi Arabia, who called the embassy seeking its intervention in a bid to get their freedom.

According to a statement from the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, a total of 24 Ugandan women were found stranded at the shelter due to failure to pay for their return air tickets home.

The intervention was made by senior officials from the Embassy of Uganda in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, led by Ambassador Sheikh Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu and Mr Daniel Mulekezi.

"We are in daily contact with them and efforts are underway to have the rest of the girls return home in the coming few days. We are working closely with Mr Pius Bigirimana - the PS, Ministry of Labor," Said Ambassador Ssemuddu.

The development comes just days after Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Wilson Mukasa Muruli announced a ban on the recruitment and export of housemaids.

The shelter was set up to house migrant workers with pending issues, including those who abscond and run away from their employers, those who are stranded and cannot pay for their tickets home and illegal workers caught in sting operations by authorities in Saudi Arabia.

"We discovered that many of the young girls were brought to Saudi Arabia on promises that could not be met by those who recruited them. Others were young and travelled on falsified documents. On reaching Saudi Arabia, they couldn't take on the work load and therefore refused to work. Most of the cases involved human trafficking," added Mr Ssemuddu, following the meeting and in-depth interviews of the young women at the Shelter at the Weekend.

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