This post about the Saudi police and female illegal workers is inspired by events a few weeks ago in Riyadh. A friend of myself and my wife is working illegally in Riyadh after having run away from her employer several years ago. She is a Filipina and has worked several jobs in various hospitals and private work for people with elderly sick relatives.
She has been staying in a large apartment with about a dozen other Filipinas and a couple of Indonesian girls, all of them illegal but working within the thriving employment black market.
Police Raid in Riyadh
The police for some reason decided to raid their apartment in the early evening about two weeks ago. Four officers came to their door and demanded entry and eventually the ladies opened the doors as there was no other route for escape.
The officers collected all of the women into the living room of the apartment and proceeded to explain to them that they had a choice to make; the women could be arrested and sent to jail as they did not have an Iqama (residency permit) or they could make the police very happy in which case they could stay and carry on as normal.
At this point some of the women tried to run and a couple actually managed to get themselves through the door and out to freedom, a couple that were grabbed as they tried to get through the door were dragged into a room by two of the officers where they were beaten and raped by the two police officers.
The remaining girls were then told to choose, arrest or the “bedroom”, half of them choose arrest and the other half choose to degrade themselves so that they could remain. Most of them having family that rely on their wages to survive back home, being arrested and eventually deported would have placed too much of a stress on their families so they had little choice!
In addition to the rapes and beatings the police also helped themselves to any cash they could find as well as laptops, phones and jewelry!
This is not the first time that I have heard similar stories or had dealings with women that have been raped or bullied into “submission” by the police in Saudi Arabia.
Police Road Blocks
My friends and I had arranged a party and were expecting 4 pretty Indonesian girls to join us for the evening (I was with my wife I hasten to add, the girls were “friends” of my friends.) The girls were working very illegally I am sure I don’t have to spell out there mode of earning a living; none had an Iqama having entered the country to make Umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah / Mecca) and remained behind to earn money.
They were late so one of my friends sent a text and was told that they were in a taxi queuing to get through a road block and they would text when they were through. Time passed and eventually we had a text that the girls had been arrested and taken from the taxi and were sat in the back of a police car; one had managed to retain her cell phone.
They remained there for about 2 hours sending us occasional messages until they finally sent a message to say that they were being taken by two officers but the car was leaving Jeddah not going to a police station. They were driven out of Jeddah up into the mountains where they were eventually taken into a large villa and locked together into a room; this was the last message we received.
I was contacted a few weeks later to be told that one of the girls was in a local hospital so we went to visit. She was lying in hospital with a badly broken leg and just a little worried about her situation.
She told us that they had been kept by the police in the house and used by various people each and every night without any indication of when they may be allowed to leave. Eventually she had managed to wriggle out of a small window but fell and broke her leg.
She dragged herself out to the road where thankfully someone stopped and took her to a hospital in Jeddah.
She refused to give more details and did not want to report what had happened; after all if she did the chances are that it would be the police that had taken her or their friends that would be dealing with the situation.
She left hospital and returned home (smuggled out of Saudi) after a few weeks but we never heard anything more from her friends – ever!
Saudi Police abusing women
The above stories may sound extreme but I have heard two other similar stories to the first during my time in Saudi. In addition to these stories I have heard several stories of women who have been found walking alone or in small groups and been stopped by the police; unable to produce any paperwork they have been allowed to “buy” their freedom from the police.
I have also heard a couple of girls tell similar stories of how they have, subsequent to being arrested, managed to “buy” their way out of the prison.
Just to give you some idea of how some Saudi Muslims regard women have a read of this article, I dare say that it is over the top a little but it is an accurate reflection of how SOME Saudi men consider women.
If you are a woman who is working illegally you will already know this, but take care! Stay away from any situations in which you are likely to be arrested or picked up by the police anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Illegal women have no way to complain and even if they did no one would listen to them!