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Ajumon and Majeed sell Kerala women Rekha and Usha to Arab families in Kuwait: How they were beaten, starved, blackmailed and finally, rescued

A case has been filed against two persons named Ajumon and Majeed for luring two Keralite women into trafficking in Kuwait. The two men had deceptively transported two women to Kuwait where they were locked up, abused, tortured, and physically assaulted.

The Kerala Police on Thursday registered a case against two persons named Ajumon and Majeed for luring two Keralite Hindi-speaking women into trafficking in Kuwait. Ajumon, an agent in Kerala, and Majeed, a Keralite agent in Kuwait had deceptively transported two women to Kuwait where they were locked up, abused, tortured, and physically assaulted. The case has been registered by the Ernakulam Town South police who have booked the accused under sections 34, 406, 420, and 506 of The Indian Penal Code.

The horror saga began in January 2022, when two Hindi-speaking women in Kerala saw an advertisement for recruitment in Kuwait. The advertisement was posted by an agency named ‘Golden Via Kochi’ located in Ernakulam which offered babysitting jobs in Kuwait for Hindi-speaking women. According to the reports, two women, Rekha and Usha (name changed) contacted Ajumon, the company agent in Kerala who told them that they need not have to worry about the plane tickets and visa as Kuwait based recruitment agency named Zaid Zhaar Al-Dawsari Manpower was to take care of it.

Trafficking victims describe their ordeal

The women, however, tried to clear their doubts regarding the monetary expenses and their stay in Kuwait. They asked the agent how come the company was providing free travel fares and free accommodation. The accused Ajumon then deceptively assured them that they were being provided jobs under PM Modi’s special scheme for women. Notably, the women accepted the jobs of nurse and babysitter respectively, with a salary package of Rs 60,000, and no expenses on their part.

One of the women confirmed to the News Minute that the recruitment agency had only asked to pay for the medical test and RTPCR test. “We were told that we only had to pay for our medical check-ups and RT-PCR tests before leaving. They had convinced me that I was being sent to a well-reputed firm. I was also told to collect my ticket, visa, and passport from a man named Sameer, an ‘employee’ at the Union government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, who was waiting for me at the Hotel Royal Wings in Nedumbassery. How could I not believe all this,” Usha said in the police complaint.

The other woman who was travelling to Kuwait for her job saw ‘housemaid’ written on the visa and had raised a doubt. But she was assured by Ajumon that the word was just an adjustment and she was sent for a professional job in Kuwait. Both the women reached Kuwait airport on February 6 and 15 respectively and were received by another accused MK Gassali (Majeed) who was a Keralite agent of the company in Kuwait.

Visiting card of the accused Kuwait-based Keralite agent named MK Gassali (Majeed)

The real threat to women started when Majeed affirmed that they were not brought for any job of babysitting. He claimed that no visa allowed workers to come for just babysitting. The women got more terrified when Majeed told them that he had assigned them for Rs 3.5 lakhs each to two big Arab families in Kuwait who wanted domestic helpers. Rekha said that she was assigned to a family of eight members who treated her inhumanely.

“I had to work from 7 in the morning to 11 in the night there, without proper food or rest. Now and then, they would give me one or two kuboos and black tea, just enough for me to have the energy to stand up, and stay alive,” she said, adding that the Arab’s wife had hit her and poured water on her when she was unable to stand up due to fatigue. She had also once video-called Majeed to inform him that she was being mistreated in the house.

Within a few days, Rekha’s health worsened and her nose started to bleed. “I was taken to a clinic eventually. But the clinic said I will have to be taken to a hospital. The Arabs just took me to the agency instead, because they probably did not want to go through the trouble of tending to me”, she was quoted.

Adding up to the horror, the agency then locked Rekha in its office and threatened her, and hit her with a belt. The accused agent forced her to go back to the Arab family claiming that he had sold her to them. “The agency threatened to send me to the custody of terrorists if I didn’t resume, reminding me that my passport was still with them. On the very same night, they took me back to that house where I was beaten up”, she said.

The victim woman somehow resumed her service but was soon brought back to the agency after her health deteriorated. The agency then threatened her to pay Rs 3.5 lakhs to the agency if she wanted to go back home. Her phone was also confiscated by Majeed who would give it back only when he wanted the victim to call her family in Kerala asking for money. Meanwhile, Rekha’s son had filed a police complaint in Kerala but was forced to withdraw by Majeed. He threatened Rekha’s family to get her arrested in Kuwait.

Screenshot captured by Rekha (name changed) when she had called Majeed in Kuwait

Rekha then contacted Ajumon, the agent of the Golden Via Kochi agency on a video call to share her plight in Kuwait. But accused responded with a threat and said that the victim would be sold to the Islamic State if she did not pay the money Majeed was asking for. “He said I would not be able to see India for another 20 years. Eventually, because my health was worsening, they slowly started to reduce the money they were asking for from Rs 3.5 lakh. Finally, my son ended up transferring Rs 50,000 to Ajumon’s account”, Rekha said on June 23.

Another woman Usha was also treated similarly. She was also assigned a big house with many family members. “I had to do everything from cooking, cleaning, and gardening to washing and ironing the clothes of every member of the family. I was given no time to rest, and all they gave me as the food was two kuboos buns per day,” she said who managed to escape the Arab house. However, she was caught by the agency and locked up in its office with Rekha.

Usha was threatened to pay Rs 3.5 lakhs if she wanted to return to India. The two women in the meantime managed to send Whatsapp audio clips to their family members detailing their plight and seeking rescue from the situation. Usha had also sent her location to her husband, Advocate Nishin George who contacted the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) and Oruma, an NGO in Kuwait. The activist from the NGO knocked at the office of Majeed asking for the victim woman. Reportedly, he abused them and forced them to leave.

The accused agent then abused the women and hit them for smartly sharing their location and other details with KMCC. Realizing that many more had been hinted of his trafficking racket, the accused set Rekha, Usha, and one other Malayali woman free. He further continued to torture the women by not paying them the claimed salary amount and instead of booking connecting flights to India far away from their actual residences. “It is only because of the association’s involvement that this rescue happened. There are many people still stuck there, unable to escape”, said Rekha in the complaint.

Sharafudheen Chittaripilakkil, secretary of Kunnamangalam zone of KMCC, explaining the case stated that the NGO had been working on trafficking and slavery in Kuwait for nearly 15 years. “I called the agent and told him that all we wanted was the release of three women in two days. Knowing our work for the past 15 years, he decided to release them. However, he said they will only be sent to three different airports in Kerala. We also gave the women some money for their expenses on their way back home,” the secretary was quoted as saying.

According to the KMCC, the number of trafficking of Hindi-speaking women in Kuwait has increased as the NGO receives similar distress calls for rescue. Reports mention that the KMCC members are currently working on rescuing another woman from Kerala, who has been trafficked by the same agent named MK Gassali, also known as Majeed. The Kerala Police in the case has registered a case against Ajumon and Majeed and has booked them under sections 34, 406, 420, and 506 of The Indian Penal Code.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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