Two Myanmar domestic workers in Oman allegedly suffered abuse, including rape, at the hands of their recruitment agency’s owner and his wife.

The two women went to Oman about three months ago and were made to work for 18 hours a day for a family that had 12 members. They asked their recruitment agency to change their employers or send them back to Myanmar, but the agency demanded US$3,000 to enable them to return home, Myanmar Times reported.

The two women were forced to work for another employer so that they could afford to pay the agency. However, they ran away from their second employer and sought help from the Thai Embassy in Oman and the Myanmar Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

They asked for help from a police station and the labor office in Oman before they returned to their recruitment agency in Sohar, Oman. One of the women said they were taken to the house of the agency’s owner and were locked in separate rooms.

On September 9, one of the women was allegedly raped by the owner, and his wife allegedly beat them. The next day, the alleged rape victim was able to escape the house and went to the Oman Labor Ministry office in Muscat for help.

“I have asked for help from the Human Rights Commission to save another Myanmar woman who was locked in the agency owner’s house,” the domestic worker said.

On September 12, the ministry ordered the agency to arrange plane tickets for the victims.

Police Lieutenant-Colonel Thet Naung of the Myanmar Anti-Trafficking Police Force said it had asked Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for help in the case.

“We will study the case when they return to Myanmar and we will investigate if there have been violations of the anti-human-trafficking law,” Thet Naung said.

There have been numerous cases of abuse toward domestic workers in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. Many Filipino domestic workers who were abused by their employers have sought help on social media.