Women allege being duped by Albanian firm

Twenty Indian women working in Albania have sought help from the government, alleging that they were duped by their employer and dumped in a dark room without food and water after they asked for their promised salaries.
Santhosh Jose, husband of P R Raji, one of the women in distress, has approached Kerala’s opposition leader Oommen Chandy seeking the intervention of federal Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed.
Speaking by phone from Berat in Albania, a weeping Raji, 28, pleaded for the intervention of the Indian authorities for their safe return.
“At the interview we were promised a minimum salary of $200 plus overtime for making bags. After reaching here we found out that we have been cheated,” she alleged.
Raji, a native of Alappuzha district, added: “We have nine-hour shifts and except for a short lunch break, the rest of the time we stand and work. We will get our promised salary only if we achieve the target of 7,100 bags a day.
“All we can make is only 2,500 bags for which they pay just $2 a day. This works out to just around Rs2,400 a month. We have been cheated by the agent.”
She said they were selected by an agent from Goa on a contract with Centre Shqiptare Company, a bag manufacturing firm in Berat, Albania.
They reached Albania on April 19.
The group of 20 workers includes eight from Goa, five from Kerala and the rest from Mumbai and Chennai.
Florin Fernandez, 30, from Goa, another woman in the group, said they hope the Indian authorities would come to their help.
“We have been told by our employer that by tomorrow 1pm we will be evicted from our room. We fear we could even land in police custody because we were made to sign some papers,” she said.
“Our work permit cards have been taken away by the company. We have been suffering physically and mentally,” Fernandez added.

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