In the face of a devastating catastrophe, Sri Lanka relies heavily on its women working in the Middle East as vital contributors to the country’s foreign exchange, with their remittances bolstering the struggling economy. However, the dreams of a better life for their families often transform into nightmares as many of these women find themselves trapped in circumstances resembling modern-day slavery.
One such harrowing tale emerges from Lindula in the Nuwara Eliya District, where Veeran Sivaranjanee, a courageous woman, suffered unimaginable torment at the hands of her employers in Saudi Arabia. Reports indicate that she was subjected to torture, with pins being forcefully inserted into her body.
Sivaranjanee endured nine days of abuse before managing to escape with the assistance of a fellow Sri Lankan, eventually finding refuge at the Sri Lankan embassy. Following a medical examination at the Nuwara Eliya District Hospital, doctors confirmed the shocking discovery of five long pins, each measuring 3 cm in length, lodged inside her body. Two pins have been surgically removed from her legs thus far.
The 30-year-old mother of one had ventured to Saudi Arabia on June 17 through the services of a foreign employment agency, driven by the economic hardships faced by her small family in Sri Lanka. Recounting her ordeal to News 1st, Sivaranjanee revealed that she had been mistreated by the lady of the house from the moment she arrived, primarily due to her inability to speak the Saudi language.
“I endured the hardships, remembering that I was doing this for my child,” Sivaranjanee said. “But when I fell and hit my head while cleaning the toilet, I felt dizzy and asked to be taken to the embassy, intending to return to Sri Lanka from there. However, they refused and assaulted me. They coerced me into placing my fingerprints on a letter stating that I had willingly agreed to a three-year employment period, but I refused. Enraged by my resistance, they mercilessly tortured me by inserting pins into my hands and legs, despite my desperate pleas.”
Fortunately, another Sri Lankan resident intervened, helping Sivaranjanee escape the agonizing environment and reach the safety of the embassy, paving the way for her return to Sri Lanka.
Sivaranjanee’s husband has lodged a formal complaint with the Agarapathana police, seeking justice for the immense injustice his wife endured. He implores the authorities to take swift action in addressing this grave violation and ensuring that his wife’s tormentors are held accountable for their heinous actions.
The heart-wrenching story of Veeran Sivaranjanee sheds light on the plight faced by many Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East. It underscores the urgent need for stronger measures to protect the rights and well-being of these individuals, ensuring their safe migration and employment abroad.