Paravur: It is not uncommon for youth seeking work abroad finding themselves in a spot as they land in an alien land. Labourers and housemaids have faced torture and jail as they land up with vicious employers and job rackets. For decades, several people from Kerala who had dreamt of a job in the Gulf countries have fallen prey to fraudsters and recent reports indicate the menace is still rife despite alerts by governments. In a recent case, five young men from the southern districts of Kerala had to resort to begging to keep themselves alive for two months in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before being rescued. All the five were lured with the promise of jobs in the Gulf kingdom but they finally arrived at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport this week, but after an ordeal.
Young men Subin, Akhil, P Vishnu and Vineesh Vijayan were stranded in Al Ain and Shanawas was trapped at Ajman. (Subin is from Kalaikkode at Paravur in Kollam district, Akhil and Vishnu are from Poothakulam in the same district. Both Vineesh and Shanawas hail from the neighbouring Thiruvananthapuram district.)
Four of them had given Rs 80,000 each to an agent-based at Chandanathoppe in Kollam for jobs in the UAE. Subin had paid Rs 20,000 each to agents in Dubai and Chennai and Rs 40,000 to another person in Dubai. The youths were promised jobs of helpers and cleaning staff.
When they arrived in Dubai from Chennai airport, there was no one to receive and they had to travel on their own to their accommodation in an unknown land. The agent in Dubai told the youths that the permit visa would be arranged in 10 days. However, they were forced to spend one month in Ajman and the remaining time in Al Ain without a job.
“We were given different promises each day but nothing happened,” said Subin.
After arriving in Dubai, the four youths could contact the agent in Kerala during the first week, but later his phone was found switched off. Later, the youths’ relatives back home called up the agent’s wife, who said that the jobs would be ready in a couple of days. Meanwhile, the relatives of four youths also filed a complaint with the Paravur police.
But the agent in Dubai said that he would allow the youths to return home only if their return tickets were sent from Kerala. These coned men had no money with them by then and sought alms at a nearby park.
We survived on the 5-10 dirhams received every day from good-hearted people, they said.
‘Malayala Manorama’ meanwhile published a report on their plight which was noticed by the WhatsApp members of a few Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Aid from these NRIs as well as relatives and friends from Kerala helped the youths to buy food for some days.
When the Indian Embassy in Dubai was informed of the matter, officials collected all details of the youths. Their passports were retrieved from the employer in Dubai thanks to the efforts of the Embassy. The return tickets were also arranged by the Embassy.