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, the original one I wrote, is the latest indication that nations are noticing and seek to change the plight of their vulnerable women/slaves who seek maid and other unskilled jobs in the Middle East. - see current news article beneath this 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:
After gruesome crimes against two Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabia, the south East Asian country is showing concerns over its female citizens in the UAE and its planning a cut in their number, a UAE-based newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The Indonesian embassy in the UAE is concerned about the number of female workers fleeing their employers’ homes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, The National reported M Wahid Supriyadi, Indonesia’s ambassador in the UAE saying.
Instead Indonesia is eying to bring more professional Indonesians to the UAE. It is estimated that around 70 percent of the 100,000 Indonesia expatriate workers in the UAE are housemaids.
"What I would like to recommend is the deployment of more professionals instead of household workers. For instance, a few hundred more Indonesian engineers are needed in the oil and petrochemical industries in Abu Dhabi and Ruwais," he added.
The Indonesian ambassador said there was also a UAE demand for nurses and other medical workers, security guards, waiting staff and chefs in the hospitality sector.
Physical abuse is "minimal" in the UAE
The majority however complained of unpaid salaries, verbal abuse and unfair working hours, he said.
There is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Indonesia and the UAE for the protection of Indonesian skilled, semi-skilled and professional workers , however there is no such agreement in place to proect housemaids or non-skilled workers.
Indonesia’s state of West Nusa Tenggara banned recruitment of its residents to work in Saudi Arabia particularly after the two gruesome cases of abuse of two female Indonesian workers.
One 23-year-old housemaid claimed that her Saudi employers burned her with an iron and stabbed and slashed her with scissors during a beating that caused internal bleeding and multiple broken bones.
Saudi Arabia's labor ministry said in a statement that it was sorry about the case, but called it an isolated incident.