I have written several blogs on the horrific abuse suffered by the maids at the hands of their sponsors/employers in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Directly below is the original article I wrote. Finally others are now taking notice of the plight of these women/slaves and are demanding immediate changes - see news article beneath my blog.
While browsing the web, yesterday, I viewed the Arab Times online site and came across several news articles about the rape and abuse of maids in Kuwait. I was surprised at the cluster of cases so I searched the web for more information and was nearly knocked off my chair when I realized the enormous extent of the huge numbers of foreign maids suffering abuse at the hands of their Middle East "sponsors". To use the term "maid" is a misnomer - these women (and boys) are nothing more than modern day SLAVES. Slaves to be abused, raped, tortured, maimed, and killed.
Many of these maids come into the Middle East (particularly Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon) from Indonesia, the Phillipines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia - smaller numbers come from India and Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia has the largest number of these imported domestics estimated at 200,000 in 2004. These maids are seen as inferiors to their Middle Eastern masters and many countries do not even recognize them as being covered by labor laws - including minimum wage:
"The plight of domestic workers in Lebanon rose to the spotlight during the summer of 2006, when Israel launched a thirty-four-day military offensive on Lebanon. In Arabic, the term "Abed" is used to denote a "black" person or "slave" and the word is sometimes heard in reference to Africans or Sri Lankans. Non-Arab Afro-Asian migrants in Lebanon are physically looked upon as inferior due to their positions as servants. These workers remain excluded under Article 6 of Lebanese labour laws and are often victims of abuse by both employers and agencies." LINK
The vast majority of these women are seeking an opportunity to earn money and send remittances back to their families -
".......Phillipines, where the economy relies heavily on remittances from nearly eight million Filipinos working overseas. Of that eight million, about 73,000 work in Kuwait. Some 60,000 are women employed mainly as maids and earning less than $200 a month on average, labor groups say.
Some of these woman do quickly realize the danger and manage to escape in a few days. But, many of the remaining "servants" are left in a living nightmare.
Here are some of the sickening stories of abuse, etc that I came across with a quick net search:
The shame of modern day slavery is not exclusive to the muslim countries as it appears that muslims are bringing their maid slavery behaviors into "multicultural" Western countries - a few examples:
by Melani Manel Perera
In front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo hundreds accuse their governments of failing to defend migrant rights. Protests triggered by the brutal story of a domestic worker tortured by her employers in Saudi Arabia who returned home with nails hammered throughout her body.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of human rights activists, religious leaders and local film stars have protested against the torture suffered by Sinhalese migrants in Saudi Arabia for work. On August 30 a crowd of people gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, shouting out slogans against the governments of Rhyad and Colombo, accused of doing nothing against the violation of human rights of migrants.
The protests were triggered by the brutal incident of LP Ariyawathi, a domestic worker of 49, tortured by the Saudi family where she worked. As punishment, employers hammered nails in her hands and forehead. Currently the Saudi authorities have denied the fact, accusing the woman of inventing everything for the purposes of extortion.
Ariyawathi worked for five months in a Riyadhi family. On August 21 she returned home telling the family she had been tortured by her employers for her inability to communicate in Arabic with the nails and pins planted in various parts of her body. Doctors at the Kamburupitiya Hospital (south of Sri Lanka) who last week visited the girl, confirmed the 24 nails five inch removed from her body long during an operation that lasted three hours.
In recent days, a Sri Lankan delegation was sent to Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation with Riyadh officials and seek an investigation. Kusuma Chandrakanth, a friend of the woman, told AsiaNews: "The Government Agency for foreign employment simply sends workers outside the country and are not interested in their suffering."
Even Buddhist monk Baddegama Samithi, ,accuses the government of not doing enough for migrants. "Its not enough to send people to other countries to meet the demand for labour. The authorities have a great responsibility in defending the rights of all those who work abroad and send money home. "
Saudi Arabia employs over 1.5 million foreign nationals. Most of them are women from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal. In recent years Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups have denounced the poor condition of workers. They are often victims of abuse, such as torture, unpaid wages and subjected to gruelling work hours without rest.