Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Indra Malkanthi had been forced to swallow nine nails by her employer in Lebanon"

Action against those exploiting Lankan workers

by Omar RAJARATHNAM, 19 June 2011

Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare Dilan Perera dismissed reports from certain media organisations that Sri Lankan women employed in a Jordanian factory were being repeatedly raped. The Minister made the statement at a press briefing held in Colombo.

“I immediately assigned a delegation to visit this factory in Jordan as soon as I became aware of this news. They launched an investigation. Based on the report submitted by the delegation, I can confirm that the factory employs 5,000 workers of which 1,850 are Sri Lankans and no one acknowledged the alleged incidents”, he said. However, recounting a different incident, the Minister acknowledged that Sri Lankan domestic worker Indra Malkanthi had been forced to swallow nine nails by her employer in Lebanon.

She is now in a stable condition in hospital after undergoing surgery to remove the nails from her stomach. “Two officials from our embassy in Lebanon have been deployed to attend to her needs and she will be flown to Sri Lanka as soon as her doctors declare her fit to travel. The local agent in charge of her employment has been ordered to cease operations temporarily”, he said.

Minister Perera also disclosed that he plans to increase the age floor of Sri Lankans going overseas for domestic employment from 21 to 30 years over the next three years to ensure their safety and security. He pledged to take action against anyone who exploits Sri Lankan workers abroad.

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