Friday, February 08, 2019

Contracted as a Maid: She Found Herself Enslaved

Photograph: Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

She thought she was helping to lift her family out of poverty by traveling to another country as a contracted domestic worker. When she arrived, she found herself enslaved....

Women train and contract as domestic workers, only to arrive in the Middle East to find their passports immediately confiscated by “employers,” they are not fed enough, their movements are restricted, and they are often beaten, raped, and used as sex slaves.”

The image above is of Migrant domestic workers demonstrating in Beirut to protest against abuse, and ask for protection under the law.
Once in their host countries, these migrants are immediately required to surrender their passports to their employers. Thus, even before the worker steps foot in her host country, the systems of exploitation are already in place. Lacking documentation and in a foreign country, migrant domestic workers find themselves under the charge of their female employer — Romina Halabi
In Dubai and elsewhere, the suicide rate among contracted domestic workers is high. One African woman nearly escaped but her attempt was intercepted and foiled just outside the doors of her embassy. No one interfered, while the heart-wrenching scene was captured on video. Her employers chased her down, grabbed her, and forcefully shoved her [kicking and screaming] headfirst into their vehicle. She committed suicide almost immediately after that.
When another woman [from the Philippines] finally escaped her tormentors, it took her over two years to retrieve her passport, legally get out of her domestic worker contract, and get back home to her family.
Saudi Arabia is the largest recipient of migrant domestic labor, with the UAE close behind with over seventy-five percent of its population classified as migrant workers. Today, domestic workers primarily emigrate from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines, choosing to leave their families and migrate for a number of economic and social reasons — Romina Halabi
Many companies that recruit domestic workers from the Philippines, Africa, and other countries, are merely fronts for human trafficking. Others know their recruiting efforts for domestic workers, often result in indentured servitude.
For many women, it is slavery, pure and simple.
Thank God for secret networks dedicated to saving abused and enslaved domestic workers in the Middle East. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Let’s add our voices to an international outcry to save women who, in good faith, leave their families believing they are contracting legitimate jobs that will give them all better lives.

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