By Theodore Shoebat
A Saudi Family enslaved a woman and worked her to the point of horrendous exhaustion. After she managed to escape, she said: “I was an animal to them”. According to one report from the Independent:
Anne, who is too terrified to use her real name, has just escaped from a flat near Wandsworth Bridge, where she had been kept as a slave by a Saudi family visiting London for a summer holiday. “It never came into my head that I would escape. I guess destiny brought me here. I can do it. I can do anything.”
Last year, the UK granted 18,950 overseas domestic worker visas to people like Anne, so they could accompany wealthy families to the UK. These workers are mostly women, and the largest number are originally from the Philippines, followed by Indians and Indonesians. Anne did not plan for her life to turn out like this. When she left the Philippines to work for a family living in Saudi Arabia, her contact promised a well-paid job as a midwife.
But when she arrived in Riyadh in 2015, her employers confiscated her passport and forced her into domestic servitude. She was paid 1,400 dirhams (£300) a month, which she sent back to her family in the Philippines. She says she was not allowed to leave the house and had no day off.
“I was an animal to them,” she said. “I could only eat the children’s leftovers, so I was always hungry, and madam always shouted at me.
“Every time I tried to sleep, I had pain in my arms from working too much, so I would cry. And there were cameras all around the house watching me.”
When the family brought Anne with them to London, her situation got even worse. “My madam made me work 24-hour shifts sometimes, and my feet were so heavy because I never sat down,” she said. “In the daytime she would take us shopping with the family, as their slaves. I was a donkey, just following them, carrying bags.”
After she arrived in Britain, Anne’s father in the Philippines was diagnosed with a serious illness. “Even though they knew I needed money for my family, they wouldn’t pay me. I begged my madam, but while we were in London she just stopped giving me my salary.”
Anne became desperate. Then one day, her employers went out shopping, and dropped her in a Hyde Park playground to look after the children.
While the children were playing, a woman walked over and handed her a card. It had a phone number on it. A few days later, Anne’s father died, and she plucked up the courage to call it. On the other end of the line was Marissa Begonia, co-founder of Justice For Domestic Workers, the woman who had handed Anne the business card.
Eventually, Anne emerged from a glass door, carrying two plastic bags, eyes darting around nervously. Marissa and Mary took her hand, and hurried across the nearby bridge. Terrified of being seen, Anne wrapped Marissa’s scarf around her head.
They jumped on the first bus that appeared to secure their getaway. “Someone came to save me and I had a chance for help, so I grabbed it. I guess this is not a crime,” Anne said, tears running down her face. “I can’t wait to tell my family.”
Slavery in Saudi Arabia is extremely common. Our organization, Rescue Christians, actually rescued a Christian Ethiopian woman from slavery in Saudi Arabia, back in 2015. As we reported:
we were contacted by a supporter who was in direct contact with a Kenyan woman who was enslaved by a Saudi family. They reluctantly agreed to let her go home to Kenya and resettle the woman’s kids because ironically they were living in a Muslim neighborhood. The Saudi family only agreed to let her go if she left all her money behind (not much) and they also did not allow her to travel with any money for the long journey.
The Saudi family figured that because she was destitute and without their meager job that she would have to return to Saudi Arabia. They were right except they did not figure that Rescue Christians would fill the vacuum.
Further after the woman arrived in Kenya she found out that one of her children had received a bad burn on her leg possibly because the Saudi family had not paid the child minder in Kenya (part of the contract of employment, but they stopped once they agreed to allow the woman to return home). The child minder never brought the child to hospital possibly because they were not paid. The burn on the leg has now been infected, pray for the child’s health.
We are still in the middle of this situation and helping the women with money to get an apartment, supply money for food and help restore her to her children as well as get her a job that she can live peaceably so she never has to return to Saudi Arabia.