16-22 January 2015 #741

Jailed abroad

Bhawani Bhatta, Kantipur, 15 January

Kanchanpur resident Mandara Rana Chettri (pic) left for Lebanon with a lot of dreams. Chhetri was hopeful she would earn enough from her job as a domestic helper to pay her debt and even manage to save to buy a property back home.  

For the first six months, her dream didn’t seem impossible. She was paid on time and her employers were good to her. Then the pay stopped and the torture began.

“When I couldn’t bear it any longer and asked for my salary to return home, they accused me of theft and got me arrested,” recalled Mandira this week at a press conference. The 23-year old spent four months in jail before her family could arrange for her release.

Mandara’s family began enquiring about her after they couldn’t reach her. On 28 December they found out she was in a prison in Lebanon. The family then registered a complaint with the District Administration Office (DAO).  Acting on the complaint, the DAO started investigations against Deep Kumar and Indira Shrestha, the local agents who had arranged for Mandara to go to Lebanon.

“As soon as the investigations started the agents hurriedly paid Rs 75,000 to get Mandara out of the jail and within a week she was here,” said district administrative officer Krishna Chandra Adhikari.

According to Mandara, Shrestha used to sent women from her village to her aunt Somati Moktan in Lebanon. Moktan would then send the women to work as domestic helpers to Lebanese homes in return for a hefty commission.

Mandara’s husband Prem Bahadur is in the UAE. According to Mandara, another Nepali woman Kalpana Pariyar from Jhapa is still in the same jail.