What you need to know:
- On August 22, 2016, the Daily Monitor reported that more than 180 Ugandan maids had reported incidents of mistreatment by their employers in Middle East countries since January last year.
- The suspect is said to have demanded more than Shs300,000 from every maid before transporting them to Oman.
Kampala. Friday, July 21, 2017, will forever remain a special day for 30 Ugandan women.
On a hot afternoon, a Fly Dubai plane flight number FZ 619 touched down at Entebbe International Airport amid cheers of joy to deliver the group to their motherland, Uganda.
The women, some of them young mothers, were returning home from Oman and other Middle East countries where they had been working as housemaids.
They had sought greener pastures in form of employment in the Middle East, only to receive a hostile reception in the hands of their Asian employers. And the unlucky ones have returned in coffins, or never been seen at all.
Landing at Entebbe was surely worth celebrating for them because around the same time, news about the death of their colleague left behind in Oman had filtered through. Nakachwa Sumayiya, 22, a holder of Ugandan passport number B1384201, reportedly breathed her last after falling ill for several weeks but her employer looked the other side.
This newspaper gathered reports, although not confirmed, that when a concerned neighbour took her food, she found her already dead and has been tracing for her relatives to break the sad news.
Among the women returning was 30-year-old single mother of three, Sumayiya Nanyanzi, from Nansana, Kampala.
On August 8, 2016, the Daily Monitor brought to the fore Nanyanzi’s plight in the Arab world with a screamer headline, “
She was later, on August 18, 2016, reported to have temporarily fled the home of her employer (See 29-year-old Ugandan maid flees from Oman employer, stranded at Kenyan embassy -Daily Monitor, August 18, 2016).
In a telephone interview she had narrated her ordeal to Daily Monitor, exposing the horrible ways she was being tortured, battered and sometimes locked up in her room for several hours without food by her Muscat employer who at times threatened to take her life.
She, at one time, managed to escape and later sought refuge at the Kenyan Embassy in Muscat, the capital of Oman, a country where Uganda has no diplomatic mission.
From her Nansana home, Ms Nanyanzi last week narrated how her fortune changed after Daily Monitor published her sad stories. One journalist in Muscat picked the articles up and alerted human rights activists in the country who intervened.
“This scared my boss who later apologised for her evil deeds and promised never to mistreat me again. From that day, she completely changed and became ‘good’ to me. I thank the Daily Monitor for saving my life because it was their story that finally made the difference,” she said with a huge smile on her face.
When Ms Nanyanzi’s contract came to an end two weeks ago, her employer showered her with a lot of gifts. She was given clothes, shoes and toys for her children.
Ms Nanyanzi, who before leaving for Oman had once spent a wonderful time working in Kuwait, advises fellow Ugandan women to be cautious before travelling abroad for employment. “Make sure you go through the right and recognised channels or organisations because one’s life matters above anything else,” she advises.
In the company of tearful relatives and children, Ms Nanyanzi vowed never to return to the Middle East in search of employment.
Human trafficking report
On August 22, 2016,
had reported incidents of mistreatment by their employers in Middle East countries since January last year.
The police commissioner in charge of anti-human trafficking, Mr Moses Binoga, said many complainants claimed they were being overworked and beaten by their employers.
“They want to return home but the challenge we have got is that their employers are demanding compensation from them for failing to meet contractual obligations,” Mr Binoga said.
Mr Binoga said employers demand between $1,000 (Shs3.3m) and $3,000 (Shs10m) in compensation to release a maid.
In the same month, Kampala Metropolitan Police arrested a man (name withheld) who is alleged to have been trafficking maids to Oman.
At least 30 of those he is alleged to have trafficked lodged complaints with the Foreign Affairs ministry about their being mistreated by employers.
The suspect is said to have demanded more than Shs300,000 from every maid before transporting them to Oman. Police investigations indicated that the man was operating illegally and preferred charges of trafficking and operating an unlicensed organisation against him.
Mr Binoga said after stringent measures were put in place to curb human trafficking in the country, the traffickers are now using neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Tanzania as transit points.