Shamsia Asanalishoeva left Tajikistan in the hope of better income and economic opportunities far from home, in Saudi Arabia.
A year later, the 46-year-old is anxious to return home after being rescued from the physical abuse she says she suffered while working as an undocumented employee in a family home on the Persian Gulf state's western coast.
Asanalishoeva, who is now safely in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, acknowledges that she overstayed her tourist visa. The former telejournalist found a job as a domestic worker through a Saudi employment agency in 2016 and was working without the proper documentation.
Asanalishoeva says she took a job as a house cleaner for a Saudi family in the port city of Jeddah, and received a monthly salary of 1,500 riyals (about $400). But she says she soon realized her job was to be a full-time "servant, nanny, and cook."
"They tell you that you're being hired for cleaning only, but...they make you do everything: look after children, all the housework and cooking," she says. "It's like a living hell."
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