For Asian and African migrant domestic workers, the Gulf is a golden cage

In front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka: This angry protest was triggered by the brutal torture of a domestic worker by her employers in Saudi Arabia--who had hammered nails throughout her body. (See article below)

The Media Line Staff,  November 18, 2010

Saudi Arabia (TML) – An international human rights group has called on Arab countries to better protect their foreign domestic workers, following recurring reports of abuse suffered by Asian maids.A Sri-Lankan housemaid working in Jordan told Human Rights Watch that her employer forced her to swallow nails, while another, employed in Kuwait, claimed her employer drove nails into her body.

Fleeing extreme poverty and harsh living conditions, millions of migrant domestic workers from across Asia and Africa flock to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Leaving underdeveloped countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Nepal and Ethiopia, the workers seek higher salaries which they send home as remittances. However, higher wages often come at a high cost in human rights abuses and labor violations.

“I had no day off. There was no rest,” Sanju, a 33 year-old domestic worker from Sri Lanka working in Kuwait, told Human Rights Watch. “The Madam always beat me; she would beat me on the head […] she told me ‘I can kill you; I can beat you. No one cares about you.'” Continue reading