Human Rights Watch, October 2014

Human Rights Watch has released its new report on the human and labour rights violations, which include a range of abuses and forms of exploitation throughout the migration journeys of many female domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates. From the Human Rights Watch website:

This 79-page report documents how the UAE’s visa sponsorship system, known as kafala, and the lack of labor law protections leave migrant domestic workers exposed to abuse. Domestic workers, most from Asia and Africa, cannot move to a new job before their contracts end without the employer’s consent, trapping many in abusive conditions. Labor-sending countries don’t fully protect the workers against deceptive recruitment practices or provide adequate assistance to abused nationals abroad.

On recruitment, the report discusses the role of private recruiters and recruitment agencies, discriminatory hiring practices, the formalities involved in the issuance of work permits, and the many mechanisms of control inherent in the system. From the report:

Recruitment agencies are contractually obliged to replace a domestic worker within the first two to three months of employment if the employer is not satisfied. They offer no guarantee to replace workers who “run away.” One recruitment agent stated: “We give a guarantee that [we] will give a replacement if they don’t like each other in the first three months, if she is not healthy, for all problems, except running away.”50

With employers paying relatively high costs to hire and retain domestic workers while lacking any guarantee that a worker who runs away will be replaced, some employers confine domestic workers to the home.



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