Nepali villager Sunita Magar thought she was heading to a safe factory job in Kuwait, but only when she landed in Damascus did she realise “something had gone very wrong”.
Frequently beaten with a baton and given only one meal a day, Magar says she spent 13 months working as a maid for a Syrian household and pleading to be allowed to go home.
“I was just in shock, I couldn’t stop crying,” the single mother-of-two said.
Magar is among scores of poor Nepali and Bangladeshi women who traveled to the Middle East on the promise of a good job, only to be trafficked into Syria, hit by five years of civil war.
Nepal’s top diplomat in the region said nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries, which, like Nepal and Bangladesh, have large migrant labor populations, have stopped working in Syria because of the dangers involved.
“Since then, traffickers have been targeting Nepalis,” said Kaushal Kishor Ray, head of Nepal’s diplomatic mission based in Cairo.
In nearby Bangladesh, Shahinoor Begum lies in a Dhaka hospital bed recovering from her seven-month ordeal after being trafficked into Syria as a sex slave.
“I was sold to a Syrian man who tortured and raped me every day, sometimes along with his friends,” Begum, also a single mother-of-two, said.
“I begged for mercy, but they didn’t have any. Instead, they used to beat me so badly that I broke my arms,” said. Read More