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Domestic workers in Kuwait: 20,000 complaints per year 6, October 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
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Human Rights Watch reports that abuse of domestic workers in Kuwait is rising. Compounding this is the fact that if or when abused workers seek to escape torturous conditions they may face prosecution.

HRW continues to repeat what is known by anyone with but a passing interest in this topic:

  • Salaries can be (and are) easily withheld from the workers
  • Workers are often forced to work exceedingly long hours – there is no law protecting them
  • Many have been deprived of adequate food and water
  • Many have been physically or sexually abused

The sheer numbers involved beggar belief.

In 2009, domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Ethiopia filed over 10,000 complaints of abuse with their embassies.

Worse still, this data does not include reports from Indian maids who make up nearly half of the 660,000 domestic workers in Kuwait. Can we, therefore, say that, unless Indian workers are treated better, for which I see no convincing rationale, there are somewhere in the region of 20,000 complaints per year? This is truly a horrific number.

Perhaps Kuwait’s mooted decision to get rid of the kefala system by February 2011 is a chink of light in an otherwise wholly depressing and repetitive saga.

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