Govt must step up to help vulnerable foreigners

Published: Apr 25, 2020, 04:59 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

The country's representatives need to step with alacrity and actively help these nationals and especially, women who may just be a target, though it may not happen all the time, of unwanted sexual advances

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

A woman from South America recently alleged that she was harassed by a policeman during her stay in Mumbai. The young woman was stranded in the city, as she could not return to her country because of the lockdown. She detailed her complaint to top cops in an email statement saying that a cop who was supposed to help her made sexual advances and tried to take advantage of her vulnerable state.

While there is an investigation going on, the report, which appeared across various media platforms should alert us to other foreign nationals who may face some kind of harassment, given their disadvantaged state because of the lockdown.

This especially applies to solo or even a group of foreign women who are unable to fly back to base because of the prevailing conditions. They may be stuck alone in small hotels as most of the staff also may have left for their hometown or may not be working in these times.

In some cases, they may be the only guests at facilities and though there may be very decent and good persons manning the hotel, it is a disconcerting prospect for many foreign women, who may be running thin on money. Add to that the fact that some of these nationals may not know English, or just have a basic, working knowledge of the lingo. They may also be unaware of local customs or conditions and have no contacts at all.

We do hope that they can contact authorities or somebody responsible for their safety and they have some recourse and a safe place to stay. The country's representatives need to step with alacrity and actively help these nationals and especially, women who may just be a target, though it may not happen all the time, of unwanted sexual advances. It is a worrying picture, which needs to be addressed with urgency and will.

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