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Violence Against Migrants: August Roundup

On September 4, 2012

An overwhelming number of suicides and attempted suicides have once again occurred in the Gulf this month.

In Kuwait, an Indian maid attempted suicide by slitting her wrists in her employer's bathroom. An Ethiopian maid also attempted suicide because, according to witnesses, her sponsors treated her poorly. In a police station, a maid committed suicide by using her scarf to asphyxiate herself. In the preceding month, she attempted suicide in prison.

In late August, an employee of the Interior Ministry attempted to kidnap an Ethiopian maid. The man beat her and tried to force her into his vehicle before fleeing.

Also in Kuwait, an Asian maid was found dead in a stolen vehicle. The circumstances of her death are currently unknown.

In Lebanon, an Ethiopian worker attempting to escape from her employer's 12th floor apartment fell to her death. The absence of any apparent investigations into the conditions which prompted her escape has been criticized by the Anti Racism Movement.

This truncated list does not include the scores of documented violence against migrants in Israel, covered in depth here, here, and here.

The sustained violence against migrant workers in the Gulf has led the Filipino government to, belatedly, reassess its ex-patriot labor policies. The consulate is now enlisting methods to monitor and reject prospective employers with a record of abuse. The proposed system is imperfect as sponsors can rather easily overcome detection, but it is nonetheless an important step in addressing the chronic abuse of domestic workers - one that other labor-sending countries should emulate.