Rising Star Shakti Bhagchandani: “Why I plan to start a foundation dedicated to helping survivors of physical and sexual violence in the Middle East”

Kristin Marquet
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readApr 11, 2019

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In the near future, I hope to start a foundation dedicated to helping survivors of physical and sexual violence in the Middle East.

Under this umbrella, a particularly vulnerable group are domestic workers in the Gulf. Thousands of women from Uganda, Ethiopia, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries temporarily take up household work in the Gulf to raise money for their families back home. Sadly, many end up running away from abusive and exploitative employers but can’t return home because of a merciless labor system that strips them of their passports. Many are beaten, sexually assaulted, confined, underpaid, overworked and live in inhuman conditions. HRW brought light to this issue a few years ago, but nothing has been done to help these women.

They become trapped in the UAE, charged with bogus claims of theft (and even sorcery), charged obscene amounts of money for ‘recruitment fees’, charged for absconding and breaking their contracts, and some are even imprisoned.

I hope to raise funds to release these women so they can return to their home countries and reunite with their families. The prevention of physical and sexual violence is the cause that has meant the most to me, not just in the Gulf but on a global scale.

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Kristin Marquet
Authority Magazine

Publicist and author based in New York City. Founder and Creative Director of FemFounder.co and Marquet-Media.com.