Sadiya’s Story – International Women’s Day

March 4, 2019

“I didn’t know that I am also important in my society. Justice and Care helped me in believing in myself. Thank you.”

Sadiya* was born and brought up in a very poor family who lived in a slum in Bangladesh. When Sadiya was very young her father died. She was forced to become a rag picker and by 13 she was married. Just over one year into their marriage her husband left her and her new baby. Sadiya was devastated and left in extreme poverty and uncertainty.

Sadiya became so desperate that when a relative of her neighbour offered her a job in Saudi Arabia, she jumped at the chance. Her relatives all supported her and thought it would be a good decision for the future of her and her baby. In April 2018 and without knowing anything about her destination, Sadiya along with 5 other girls made the long journey over to Saudi Arabia, leaving her young daughter at home.

When she arrived, a Saudi Arabian family took her to their house. They forced her to work long hours without any food and she quickly fell sick. When she asked for rest they refused. After a month of hard labour, she asked about her salary and was told that she had been bought for $3000 and so she wouldn’t be paid.

After she requested to be sent back to Bangladesh, she was taken to the agency that had bought her and was brutally tortured and confined for days, before being returned to her employer. In order to further threaten and intimidate Sadiya, the agency also recorded a video of the abuse and posted it online.

Three months later, Sadiya became so unwell she was physically unable to work and a second time was sent back to the agency. Fortunately, with the help of the Bangladesh High Commission, she was deported back to Bangladesh with severe breathing problems and several injuries. Upon returning, she also faced harsh stigma from members of her village as a result of the of the abusive video the Saudi agency had posted online.

That’s when Justice and Care were handed Sadiya’s case. They recognised her vulnerability and the high risk of her being re-trafficked. Our teams made sure she was provided with the necessary medical care she needed and emotional and financial support to help her get back onto her own two feet.

Sadiya now trades clothes and dreams of a secure and stable future for her and her daughter.