Maid abuse rampant in region, says magazine

Posted by admin on Jan 19th, 2011

By RIMA AL-MUKHTAR, Arab News, Jan 19, 2011

JEDDAH: A Saudi women’s magazine has published an article highlighting the abuse of maids and the need to find solutions to the problem, not just in the Kingdom but across the region. According to the article in Sayidaty magazine (a sister publication of Arab News), many housemaids across the region are abused in a variety of ways from physical abuse to not being provided with food. It also adds that such maids have no rights and that they hardly see justice except when a major development occurs.

“Local newspapers have recently been publishing a lot about maid abuse in the Kingdom and this is where we decided to not just write about the horror stories but also find solutions to the problem,” said Mona Siraj, managing editor of Sayidaty magazine in Jeddah.

“Our responsibility as a magazine that cares for social issues is to give our readers the perfect and real picture … in addition to allowing the authorities and human rights’ bodies to respond,” she added.

According to the article, there are some 2 million housemaids in the Kingdom, 660,000 in Kuwait and 79,000 in Bahrain. In the United Arab Emirates, housemaids outnumber families. It said in Egypt there are 177 recruitment offices, of which only three are legal.

“Until now, there aren’t any regulation that protects both the maid and the employer and we are demanding this to assure security for both sides,” said Siraj. “I believe that these problems should be out in the public to spread awareness in society. We are giving the opportunity through the magazine to both sides to know their rights.”

In Saudi Arabia, a maid had her lips cut out and abused in other ways for misbehaving. Maids are beaten with electric cables for breaking cups in Egypt, thrown out in the streets in Bahrain and locked indoors in the Emirates, reports Sayidaty.

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