Volunteers, journalists and lawyers in Tamil Nadu are taking advantage of the services provided by WhatsApp to help Indian domestic workers in Gulf countries to get back home safely.

 

They form groups on the messaging platform for each case and each group ideally consists of lawyers, NGO volunteers and journalists who guide these workers in distress to return to the country safely.

 

According to a report in The Hindu, Sister Valarmathi, Tamil Nadu Coordinator, National Domestic Workers Movement/ Migrant Forum, said her group has coordinated in at least three cases through WhatsApp in the last few months.  “The migrant workers somehow manage to get our number through their families back home. We form groups for each case, involving locals including volunteers, journalists and lawyers who are willing to help and guide them. Once the worker returns home, the group is disbanded,” she said.

 

For instance, a woman, who claims that the household she worked for in Gulf ill-treated her and tortured her physically and mentally. However, the WhatsApp group helped her get in touch with the Indian embassy, and now she is home. “I was beaten up badly since I have to repay a loan of ₹2 lakh that I incurred for my daughter’s wedding and that's when I decided to work. But I didn’t realise I would be treated so badly. I have worked in the Gulf countries earlier but never been beaten up. WhatsApp helped me remain in touch with several Tamil-speaking persons, and finally, a group of volunteers and an advocate helped me. They gave me moral support,” she said.

 

Valarmathi further stated that they are currently working on 200 cases using Whatsapp. In some camps like in Kuwait, there are restrictions. Since the number of cases we are dealing with is increasing, we need a Minister to deal with issues pertaining to migrant labour,” said Sister Valarmathi