Hamidi Begum, an Indian woman who went missing 20 years ago, has been found with the help of a video on social media. The woman first went missing after a recruitment agent in Mumbai promised her a job in Dubai but trafficked her to Pakistan. She is appealing to the Indian government to help her reunite with her family.
Waliullah Maroof, an imam in Karachi, said the Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad have contacted him and wanted to meet Hamidi Begum to send her back to Mumbai.
“She is desperate to go home and reunite with her family as she now lives in Karachi with her stepson,” Mr. Maroof said.
Ms. Hamidi said in an emotional call that she had not seen her children and family for 20 years and wanted to hug them.
“I was able to speak to my daughter and granddaughter on video call but I want to meet them in person,” she said.
Ms. Hamidi’s fate took a turn for the worse when she was promised a job in Dubai in 2002. Until then. she was working as a cook in Qatar. A Mumbai agent duped and trafficked her to Karachi, Pakistan instead.
From Karachi, the woman was taken to Pakistan’s Sindh province where she was locked up for three months. After her release, she married a Pakistani widower with a son.
According to Mr. Maroof, the woman’s husband passed away three years ago. He had moved into the neighborhood in Karachi from Hyderabad 14 years ago.
“I knew there was a problem with this lady because she always looked worried. When she told me her story, I decided to help her out by posting her video and story on YouTube from where luckily an Indian journalist named Khalfan Shaikh saw it and contacted me,” he said.
The Maulana has previously used social media to help Bangladeshi human trafficking victims in Pakistan.
He said those women, like Ms. Hamidi, are illiterate and financially poor and it becomes difficult for them to find work in Pakistan.
“They just accept their fate and live their lives but Ms. Hamidi wanted to reunite with her family. She also remembered her Mumbai address and the name of her children and when we arranged the video call with her daughter Yasmin Sheikh it was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Mr. Maroof said.
Ms. Hamidi’s daughter, Yasmin, said that her mother would call them regularly when she lived abroad. The family waited for months for a phone call after Ms. Hamidi left home in 2002 and finally approached the agent who had organised the trip.
“She told us that our mother was well and didn’t want to speak with us. We kept returning to ask questions about our mother, and then she (the agent) suddenly vanished,” Ms. Yasmin said.
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