Thursday, 5 April 2012

Overview article on FDWs

Modern Slaves: Domestic Migrant Workers in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia

Posted on April 04, 2012 by Cecily Hilleary

The newspaper stories are shocking: Man stapled maid several times and left her disfiguredHeated nails hammered into Sri Lankan maidHousemaid plunges to her death from Sharjah towerEthiopian domestic worker beaten on camera commits suicide

Open any newspaper in Lebanon or the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and you will likely find similar stories of domestic workers who have run away or committed suicide as a result of unpaid wages, confinement to the house, lack of food or sleep, exhausting work hours and/or verbal, physical or sexual abuse by their sponsors.

Scope of the Problem

Employment opportunities in the Gulf attract as many as 3 million women from the developing countries of South Asia every year. The International Labor Organization (ILO), a U.N. agency dedicated to workers’ rights, estimates that Arab countries host more than 20 million migrant workers in all, one third of them women coming from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines and Ethiopia. Typically, these women find jobs through labor recruiters in their home countries. Although some recruitment firms are legitimate, many others are not licensed and have been known to trick women with false promises. Quite often, once these women arrive in their host countries to work as housemaids, they discover that labor laws do not apply to them and that there is little help available if they feel exploited or violated in any way.

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