Case study # 4
Hamela is a 15 year old Burmese girl. She was taken to the hospital following an
appendicitis attack. One of the hospital nurses took interest in Hamela and found out that
for the past six years, she has been working seven days a week tending house and taking
care of the three small children of a Bangladeshi family established in a Caribbean
country. She explained that some of the marks on her body were from beatings from her
employer for chores she had not completed appropriately. She said she had to work for
her employers because they told her they paid a lot of money for her to her family. She
worked from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., and was only allowed to go to her room after the
children went to bed.
Though Hamela has no major illnesses, she has several marks on her body from severe
beatings she received at the hand of her employers. She has not been sexually abused.
Since her hospitalization, Hamela is afraid that the Bangladeshi family will be very upset
at her for speaking to the nurse, and telling her about her working and living ordeal.
She’s afraid that her employer will beat her again, and withhold paying her for her
services for several weeks as punishment, as they have done before. She is due to be
released from the hospital within the next couple of days.
Hamela has had very little schooling – she cannot read and write, but has learned a few
words of English.
Immediate Concerns –
The nurse appropriately identified a problem – but wasn’t sure how to proceed and who
to report this case to. She was concerned that following her surgery, Hamela would
forced back into a life of abuse.
Hamela would like to return to live with her family in Burma, but she’s a Rohingya and
not sure where her family lives. The Caribbean country in which she lives is a party to
the Refugee Protocol and has a process in place to conduct refugee processing. The
country is ranked on Tier 2 of the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons
Report, and has a Taskforce and a Plan of Action to combat trafficking in persons. The
country is not a party to the conventions on statelessness.
Hamela’s family lives in Burma. She remembers her family name, but not their address.