Maid Murdered – Sponsorship or Slavery?

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Mar 22 2007

Somewhere in Jizan, located in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, a maid died in a hospital after being brought there by her sponsor, whose wife had assaulted her.

One thing pops into my mind: slavery.

Not generalizing, I would have to say that a great percentage of Saudis think it's their God-given right to treat others as lesser mortals. I can't believe this type of mind-set still exists in this era, where one believes they can treat those under their payroll like possessions.

I have had this debate with Saudis before; about why this still goes on in the Kingdom and its Gulf neighbors. It has always come down to the same reasons: lack of ethics and morality, the lack of laws protecting foreign workers with low paying jobs such as maids and construction workers, lack of enforcement and worst of all, lack of official support which leads to all of these problems being shoved under the carpet.

Abeer Mishkhas has an article stating the similarities between sponsorship and slavery.

To make matters worse, the maid who died in Jizan might have been the only source of income for her family back home. Now we not only have murder on the table, but yet another family at risk of not finding any means of living. A great law would be one that not only punishes abusive sponsors, but one that in case the maid dies under their sponsorship, forces them to support the maid's family (dependents such as children and parents) if they have no other means of income. That is justice.

But then again, let's just wait and see how the justice system deals with this case.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East