Duped by a job agent in UAE, 64 Indians trapped in single room; rescued

Dubai: They were all promised jobs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by unscrupulous recruiting agents. After paying money to these agents in lakhs and reaching the country on a visit visa, 64 Indians, of which there were carpenters, AC technicians, etc., realized they were duped.

The duped Indian migrants, then, had nothing to do and nowhere to go. They all were trapped in a single room in Sharjah. They had only one meal a day — which consisted of one chapati and tea. All of them are currently rescued.

They arrived in the UAE on a visit visa via an agent from Uttar Pradesh after paying Rs 1.5 lakh (Dh7, 500) each.  The victims were from UP, Bihar and Delhi. 

According to Khaleej Times, Shirali Sheikh Muzaffar, a social activist who noticed some of them crying on the side of the road in Sharjah, learned about the plight of the workers. Muzaffar said they had given their entire savings to the agent with the dream of starting a new life.

Their misery began when they arrived in the UAE. After waiting for 14 hours at the airport, a vehicle arrived to pick them up. As soon as they got into the vehicle, everyone’s passports were taken away.

Food was provided only once a day– chapati and tea. A few days later agents told them to find their own food. One time when they asked for their passport back they were taken to another room and brutally beaten. Threatened with deportation if they protested.

Muzaffar, who understood the plight of the workers in detail, contacted a charity worker in Abu Dhabi to arrange food for them. He then briefed the Indian Consulate General with the help of social activists Hidayat Adoor and Karnataka NRI President Praveen Kumar Shetty.

He immediately contacted the consulate agents and directed them to resolve the issue. The consulate demanded their passports and arrange for the air tickets and COVID tests to be conducted for those who wish to return home.

Muzaffar said the passports of all 64 were returned to the agent’s office on the instructions of the consulate. Attempts were also made to classify the possible jobs by understanding the expertise in each job. Of these, eight got jobs. Muzaffar said 22 people had returned home.