Maid locked up without pay for 17 years in Saudi

Sri Lankan will receive US$19,000 compensation after years of abuse come to light
Kusuma Nandina, aged 57, arrived in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 1994 and was kept as a slave in her employer’s home. (Image for illustrative purposes only)
By Sara Anabtawi
Mon 26 Mar 2012 10:41 AM

A Sri Lankan maid is to receive SAR72,000 (US$19,000) in compensation after being locked up in her Saudi Arabian sponsor’s home without pay for 17 years , it was reported.

Kusuma Nandina, aged 57, arrived in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 1994 and was kept as a slave in her employer’s home, Arab News reported.

Aside from not receiving any wages, she was forbidden from communications with anyone, including her family in her home country.

The case apparently came under attention two years ago when Nandina’s 25-year old daughter contacted the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry saying she had not heard from her mother in years.

Upon their initial visit to her sponsor’s home in Riyadh, the owners denied that any domestic helpers were residing there.

After several repeated attempts to find her, Nandina was eventually tracked down.  She is now preparing to head back to Sri Lanka.

The case again highlights the treatment of foreign domestic helpers in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the Kingdom stopped issuing work visas to helpers arriving from Indonesia and the Philippines, after authorities in those countries demanded increased pay and better working conditions for their citizens.

In response, Saudi officials have said they are seeking to recruit more domestic workers from Ethiopia.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.