It was announced on 12 September that a resource centre for Indian migrants working in Gulf states was set up. Its objective is to aid in cutting down the risk of trafficking workers to fake jobs and leave them open to exploitation.
The Indian Workers’ Resource Centre in Sharjah in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) with a 24-hour helpline and a team of advisers seeks to bail out thousands of Indians employed in the region who could be victimised.
Dinesh Kumar, an official at the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi, was quoted by Reuters as saying that there were several fake job rackets that lead migrant workers to find themselves with low earnings, without proper documentation or even without jobs upon their arrival there.
He said that henceforth Indian workers in crisis will find help through a phone call.
According to figures from the Indian government, there are about six million Indian migrants living in the Gulf States of the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The establishment of a rescue centre was necessitated by the increasing number of complaints that the Indian government and non-governmental organisations have been receiving for quite some time from migrant workers, with regard to non-payment of wages or torture and abuse.
A multilingual toll-free number (800 INDIA) will be set up to take note of these complaints round the clock at the Sharjah centre. It will also verify job offer letters to ensure that Indian migrants are not being misled.
Kumar said that apart from being conned by job agents, many workers are stuck in low paying jobs and are not aware of how they could seek legal or financial recourse.
He said that cultural differences, language and food habits also are a barrier for workers hailing from underprivileged Indian families.
Kumar added that the centre would have counsellors in place to help these aggrieved people whether it is on coping with the place or problems they were facing.
Ankit Agarwal of Alankit, the organisation which has allied with the government of India to run the centre, said that most of them they deal with are blue collar workers, with several of them being illiterate and ignorant of their work contract terms.
He said that they give them basic information at the camps and inform them on how they could reach these rescue workers when they are in trouble.
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