An Indonesian worker who allegedly fell victim to inhumane treatment by her Saudi Arabian employer returned to her hometown in East Java on Monday, after spending more than one week at a Jakarta hospital.
In early August, Sulami, a resident from Dagangan village, had to be treated at the Dammam Al Markazi hospital in the town of Qatif, Saudi Arabia, where she worked.
Her sister Sulika said Sulami actually arrived in Indonesia on Oct. 1, but had to undergo treatment at the police hospital in Jakarta first.
“According to the hospital’s diagnosis, Sulami had a stroke because of rising blood pressure,” Sulika said on Monday.
Sulika said her sister’s illness was related to the workload imposed by her Saudi employer Achmad Muchsin. who Sulika says never gave her a day off.
“Sulami had to work all day with hardly any breaks to serve her employer and four children. It is this inhumane treatment that caused her health to decline,” Sulika said.
According to Sulika, Sulami would always avoid answering questions surrounding the wounds over her body. Instead, she would cry whenever the subject was raised by family members.
Sulika added that her Sulami had only received three months of her salary upon her departure despite working for the family for more than seven years. When she arrived in Indonesia, Sulami only carried Rp 2.1 million ($219) and 435 riyal ($116), donations from the Indonesian workers community in Saudi Arabia.
Sulika said she did not know how her family would pay for Sulami’s treatment, as her hospital bills in Jakarta were funded initially by Duta Fandalima, Sulami’s placement agency.
“We hope the regional government will help my sister’s medication. Because after returning to Dagangan, my sister still needs to undergo therapy to recover fully,” Sulika said.
Suyadi, chief of the local social and manpower agency, said his office had contacted the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) in Jakarta. “We are urging the BNP2TKI to fight so that Sulami’s rights can be fulfilled,” he said.
Indonesia currently prohibits sending its citizens to be domestic workers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, after an Indonesian maid was beheaded after being convicted of killing her Saudi employer, as well as cases of violence and maltreatment of Indonesian workers there.
But despite the moratorium, there are still 1.5 million workers in the Middle Eastern country, according to data from the Manpower Ministry, making it the second most popular destination for Indonesian workers abroad behind Malaysia.