Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj directed the Indian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia to help a nurse who has reportedly been forced into slavery. “Please rescue this lady,” Swaraj said on Twitter.

On June 23, The Times of India had reported that a Saudi Arabia national was demanding 24,000 riyals (approximately Rs 4 lakh) in exchange for her release. Mendonca was allegedly taken to Saudi Arabia on June 19, 2016. Her family said the last time they spoke to her was in December 2016. “My mother has been sold for Rs 5 lakh by an agent,” Mendonca’s son, Vinroy, was quoted as saying. “She is suffering terribly in Saudi Arabia. She is ill and is being beaten by the kafil [sponsor].”

The nurse’s son said she was promised a job but was forced into slavery instead. She was assured of a monthly salary of Rs 25,000. Vinroy Mendonca said the agent, identified as James, was questioned by police and let off.

“James and Shabha Khan [Mumbai-based agent] are responsible for sending Jacintha to Saudi Arabia,” Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of Human Rights Protection Forum in Udipi, told the English daily. “They were working for New Delhi-based Trio Tracks Travel.”

Shanbhag said the Ministry of External Affairs has blacklisted this agency. “We do not understand how a blacklisted company could arrange visa for Jacintha,” said Shanbhag.

Swaraj is known for her proactive responses, particularly on social media, to requests to help Indian diaspora.