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‘Lankan maid’ receives SR45,000 in back wages

RIYADH: An Indian woman, who had come to the Kingdom with a Sri Lanka passport as a housemaid, received SR45,000 in back wages for 14 years of employment on the intervention of the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah.
The maid, Kedeswari Sellamuthu from Chennnai, Tamil Nadu, went to Sri Lanka in 2003 and was sent to the Kingdom for employment on a Sri Lankan passport.
Sellamuthu, who holds a passport under the name of Zareena Salee, confessed to the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah that she had obtained a Sri Lankan passport through an agent who trained her to pose as a Muslim woman from Sri Lanka to obtain the Lankan passport. She had submitted forged documents to obtain a Sri Lankan passport from the Sri Lankan Immigration Department.
She said that there were two other women who had come to Sri Lanka in a similar situation, and they were sent to Kuwait for employment.
Sri Lankan Consul General Faizer Mackeen, who personally dealt with the case, told Arab News that this is a clear case of human trafficking into the Kingdom by unscrupulous agents in Sri Lanka.
Although the consulate has pursued the Saudi sponsor to obtain her back wages on humanitarian grounds, Mackeen said that the maid will be subject to severe grilling by investigators in Colombo to determine the culprits behind the scene.
On arrival at the Colombo airport, the maid will be taken for questioning by investigators.
”It needs the attention of the relevant authorities and investigations to find out the truth behind this racket, which could also be a security lapse,” the diplomat said.
Mackeen further explained that the maid had contracted with the Saudi employer for a monthly salary of SR400, which was not paid at all by the sponsor during the past 14 years. The sponsor, he said, has now paid the back wages as well as the airfare to Sri Lanka.
Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva alleged that there has been an “agency mafia” operating for a long time in the country which has been exploiting unsuspecting workers who depend on them to find work. ”This is a clear example of such an activity,” he added.
According to the deputy minister, job agents charge employers SR25,000 for each Sri Lankan sent to work in Saudi Arabia through the agency, while agent fees charged from all other nations remained less than SR15,000.

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