By Max Walden
Equal Times | 7 September 2017
“I had only been at my employer’s house for a week and was hit and slapped repeatedly,” says Bu Tayem, a former domestic worker in Qatar, who was flown home to Indonesia in 2016 after just one year in the Gulf.
Speaking outside of her home in the village of Tegal Sawah, Karawang – an impoverished, rural area just 75 kilometres from the nation’s capital of Jakarta – Tayem looks aged well beyond her 50-something years. “They liked to torture,” she says of her former employers, a police captain and his model wife.
“They poured hot water on my back and rubbed salt into it. They hit my burns with a hot knife,” she says pointing to her scalp where hairless patches remain. “The children were the same.”
Tayem was never paid for her time in Qatar. The only money she received for 14 months of work were three instalments of about US$112, which was paid to her family upfront. Pak Ridwan Wahyudi of the Migrant Workers Union of Indonesia (SBMI) tells Equal Times this is common practice, with local recruiters generally paying around 2 or 3 million rupiah (US$150-225) to the families of migrant domestic workers prior to their departure as a supposed “promise” of things to come.