Workshop on Problems faced by unskilled labourers in Gulf Countries 

Richard D’Souza
Kemmannu News Network, 19-09-2018 09:02:32

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Udupi : “As per Emigration Act, 1983 all the recruiting agencies sending uneducated or unskilled labourers to foreign countries, especially to the Gulf region, should compulsorily register themselves with the Vigilance Cell headed by the Deputy Commissioner of each District. More than 3000 labourers go abroad every year through Overseas Recruiting Agencies (ORA). Unfortunately, not even a single Overseas Recruiting Agency in Karnataka is registered according to the official  website of the Ministry of External Affairs. Further, not even a single Vigilance Cell is effectively functioning in any of the districts,”, said Dr. Ravindranath Shanbhag, the President of Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi. He was speaking at a Workshop organized by the Udupi District NRI Welfare Committee at Vaikunta Baliga Law College, Udupi on September 18.



The Workshop was organized for aspirants willing to go overseas looking for a job, the general public, the law faculty and students of Vaikunta Baliga College of Law. Assistant Commissioner and Convener of NRI Welfare Committee T Bhoobalan presided over the programme.

T Bhoobalan addressed thee issues related to NRI workers in the Gulf and the role of the NRI Committee. The programme was compered by Advocate Vijayalaxmi, trustee of HRPF.



Dr. Ravindranath Shanbaug highlighted various instances of Human Rights violation of Overseas Workers, particularly in the Gulf region starting from 1990 and how the Human Rights Foundation had assisted the victims.

The seminar was focused on the multifarious problems faced by the unskilled labourers and the repatriation procedures. Dr. Shanbaug also cited the role of the District Administation in designing a framework for the prevention of Human Trafficking, false imprisonment, labour security and other employment issues of the unskilled workers in various Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Muscat etc.


Following are the Cases of Overseas Employees who had been victims and suffered in the Gulf :

1.   1.    Shantaram Ganiga (1998) : He was employed in the Gulf as a technician but was made to work in the fields. In an accident, whilst on duty, he expired. All of a sudden, the communication between him and his family members stopped as they were unaware of his death. After a fes months of his demise, his family received a letter related to insurance, which on interpretation indicated that Shantaram Ganiga was no more. The cause of sudden death was unknown to his family. They approached HRPF after futile efforts of seeking help from the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the Ministry of External Affairs, Delhi.

On investigation, HRPF found out that Shantaram Ganiga had died of electrocution due to a short circuit while he was involved in some work. On the request of HRPF, Udupi 6 volunteers from undivided South Kanara district approached the emnployer in a small town in Saudi Arabia with a team which included Labanese and Pakistani Muslims. The team not only found out the whereabouts of the dead body but organized transporting the dead body of Shantaram Ganiga to Shiroor in Udupi district. All the volunteers of HRPF experienced the saying, “When all the doors close, door of humanity opens”.

2.    2.   Jameela (2003) : She had gone seeking employment in the Gulf but was trapped in the flesh trade. After escaping from her employer she spent several days on the streets, without food for days together. The family approached HRPF seeking help to bring her back safely. After suffering physically for refusing to get into prostitution she managed to reach home with the help of the HRPF volunteers in the Gulf.

3.    3.   Sonia (2000) : Few girls from Jharkand were brought to Mangalure by Human Traffickers under the pretext of providing good education and were “sold” in Mangaluru to work as housemaids. They were subjected to physical and mental torture and exploited by the owners. With the help of HRPF, these girls were ensured education and employment thereby saving them from the torments of their past owners who used to batter them and make them work endlessly.

4.     4.  Jacintha M (2007) : She was tortured by her employer in the Gulf for a period of 9 months. Her employer had purchased her through illegal recruiting Agents who auctioned her for Rs. 5,00,000/-. After a few months when she was overburdened with work and fed up with the ill-treatment meted out by her employer, she tried to seek the help of the local police. In the process, the employer caught hold of her and dragged her back torturing her physically for trying to escape. She wasn’t given food nor medication for severe cough. When her children approached HRPF in December 2016, the organization took steps to get in touch with Sushma Swaraj (MEA), M C Luther – the Protector of Emigrants, the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, the NRI Forum of Bangaluru to get her back. The local police initially took up the case lightly with no efforts whatsoever to arrest the local illegal sub agents. However, the volunteers of HRPF in Saudi Arabia including Roshan Rodrigues helped in repatriating Jacintha.

5.   5.    Shankar Poojary (2018) : He is imprisoned in Kuwait for carrying Narcotics which was given to him by an acquaintance of his colleague to be handed over in Kuwait. However, he left the prescription in India and the parcel he carried contained Ultracet which is actually a banded drug in the Gulf due to an ingredient called “Tramadol” which contains opium. Shankar Poojary was unaware of this ban and since it is illegal to carry the same to the Gulf, the Government of India has shut the case for which a private legal representative from India has to sent to Kuwait to prove his innocence.


The session ended with awareness to the mass public that an NRI Grievance Cell will incorporated by the District Administration with Assistant Commissioner – Bhoobalan taking charge of the same and HRPF volunteers facilitating various measures to prevent future problems.

Comments on this Article
James Fernandes, Barkur/Chicago Thu, September-20-2018, 1:48
How to stop being hungry? The warning sign said, "Don’t Pluck". I used to eat the bottom half without plucking! Why? Purely out of hunger! Why are we searching for jobs?
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