No secret: Housemaids in Gulf subject to abuse

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Jul 28 2008

As much as our governments and society at large try to deny it, millions of housemaids are living in deplorable conditions within the Gulf area. People are becoming increasingly aware of their horrid situation, yet locally, many remain silent. For the past few years, cases having to do with migrant/expat workers in the Middle East are making their way into the international media, alerting the entire world of what is happening and at whose expense we are progressing.

Now more and more journalists published on Gulf countries are being associated with migrant human rights, with the most recent example being this report from Newsmax:

The majority of immigrants are unskilled or blue-collar workers earning as little as $10 a day in a very wealthy region.

Millions of them live in squalid labor camps and, in the worst cases, live lives of modern-day slavery or indentured labor. Housemaids, most of whom are Filipino Catholic, are at particular risk, with thousands subject to abuse, virtually imprisoned by their employers, given no rights and unable to worship freely.

The original article was one concerning a Papal visit to the Arabian peninsula.

Qatar plans to enforce a new law to protect expatriate domestic workers, but many Arab countries have promised such law to silence international human rights organizations and yet nothing came of it. This is in response to the Indian government demanding more rights for workers after witnessing many horror stories:

Since January last year, over 195 Indian housemaids had sought refuge at the embassy, following complaints of physical torture and sexual abuse.

Read the full article here.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East