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Photographer Steve McCurry documents abuse of migrant domestic workers

On October 12, 2014

Acclaimed photographer Steve McCurry is documenting the abuse of migrant domestic workers from Asia as part of his latest project. McCurry, who is known for iconic photos such as Afghan Girl (1985) has captured images of women who have returned from stints as domestic workers in the Far East and Middle East with disturbing stories of physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The images make for unsettling viewing - you can see a selection of them here. One Nepali woman who was raped while working in the Middle East stands with her hands on her pregnant belly, her face covered. Another Nepali woman who was forced into prostitution in Kuwait (and subsequently disowned by her family) looks squarely at the camera.

Speaking to the New York Times this week, McCurry said:

“They’re at the complete mercy of these people who see them almost like slaves: ‘You’re my property, you’ll do what I say. They go home, and they’re disfigured, and they don’t have money, and they’re psychologically scarred. They end up coming home humiliated, and it becomes like a stigma. In a way, their lives are ruined.”

This is the second creative project telling stories of abuse of migrant domestic workers that we have blogged about this month; last week featured a post on Almaz: A Story of Migrant Labour, a cartoon by PostiveNegatives that depicts the journey of a young Ethiopian woman to Saudi Arabia, where she is abused by her employer.