Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East

Return to research Posted on May 20 2013

The following image is a troubling screenshot of a QatarLiving.com forum. The post is still active here.

who wants an indonesian maid ?
I am leaving qatar for good and i have a maid that i would like to leave here and i want QR 10,000 ONLY .
She is very clean and well behaved.
Pay the money and i make NOC .
THAT’S IT
ONLY SERIOUS CALLERS ON 33019471 (Mr Walid )

The poster is literally selling a domestic worker. A “NOC” is a letter of no objection necessary to transfer the sponsorship of a migrant worker to another individual. The common practice of charging exorbitant, profitable fees for transferral is often referred to as the “Maid Trade” and amounts to human trafficking.

The post evidences disturbing practices and attitudes towards domestic workers; employers often perceive maids as “investments,” in part because of high recruitment costs exacerbated by the sponsorship system. These high costs are the primary reason a market exists for the “Maid Trade,” as demonstrated by the “interested and serious” respondent. This commodification of domestic workers necessarily invites abuse as the employment relationship becomes one of ownership rather than an exchange of services. Traditional undervaluation of domestic labor contributes to these denigrating practices.

GCC states continue to reject the sponsorship system’s complicity in trafficking as well as the prevalence of such practices. In the face of criticism, states refer to recurrent documentation as “anecdotal” rather than systematic. How many more such “isolated incidents” must migrant workers experience before Gulf states acknowledge the enduring pattern of exploitation?

Documentation, Qatar, Domestic Workers, Forced Labor & Trafficking, Domestic Workers, Qatar, Research, Sponsorship, Trafficking

One thought on “"Who Wants an Indonesian Maid?" Trafficking in Qatar

  1. [...] barred its domestic workers from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Today, online forums advertise the trade of Indonesian maids and human-rights groups call them modern-day slaves whose situations “amount to forced [...]

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Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East