Woman agent accused of cheating Gulf migrants
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Geeta Valaboju
Hyderabad: Among those sending women to Gulf countries with promises of well-paid jobs, women agents are the most active, according to records of the National Welfare Trust India.
There have been 25 cases of women being duped in the manner in January and February and 95-100 cases in 2019. In the cases investigated, an agent named Tulasi cropped up frequently, though she is known to change her name often. Two women she has sent to the Gulf are stuck there, unable to return and being paid little or no salary for the menial work they do, said Sister Lessy of the National Welfare Trust.
There are at least five women agents that send poor women abroad falsely promising them remunerative salaries. Chilla Roja Meri from Bheemawaram has four daughters and was hard-pressed to earn a decent wage. She went on a visitor's visa obtained through a travel agent named Ravi to do household work in Muscat. It's been 11 months since she went and she has not been paid a penny though she was promised `20,000 a month by the agent Tulasi. The agent forced Meri’s family to pay `15,000, said Meri’s husband Chilla Augustin.
There are many like her who have been beguiled by agents who claim to know people who have done very well after going to Gulf countries. The acute poverty at home tempts them to go abroad.
Sister Lessy said strong action should be taken against those who are misleading these women who end up worse off than there were before.
Mr Augustin told Deccan Chronicle, "Pattabhi Ramana was a close friend of mine. One day he came my home and started the conversation saying his wife Jyoti went to Muscat two years ago and now she's earning not less than `30,000 per month. We took it seriously but now we are sceptical if his wife really went to Muscat since he has trapped many people like us. Unfortunately, we came to know all this after my wife got stuck there."
Recently, Meri tried to get in touch with her family. She told them that when she had phoned to talk to her children six months ago, agent Tulasi changed her name to Laxmi snatched her mobile and beat her up and said, ‘you are not allowed to call anyone because you are a slave’.
Advocate Nalli Shankar said, "Whoever goes to another country on a visitor’s visa has to pay hakkam (residence permission) for the time period of their stay. But here the agents do not pay any taxes and take away all the money. When I was going through the cases, I found that Jyoti will send Meri back in 20 days. It seems Jyoti and Tulasi are working together."