As If I Am Not Human: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers by Human Rights Watch

By Human Rights Watch

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Extra resources for As If I Am Not Human: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia

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Sri Lankan domestic worker, Riyadh, December 6, 2006 Domestic workers reported their employers forbid them from making or receiving phone calls, writing letters, and communicating with their family or other migrants in Saudi Arabia. Isolation increases domestic workers’ vulnerability to abuse. Among domestic workers reporting other types of problems including unpaid wages, physical abuse, or food deprivation, almost all reported tight monitoring and controls on their communication.

According to recruitment agents and embassy officials interviewed by Human Rights Watch, employers typically pay approximately 6,000-9,000 riyals ($1,560-2,340) to hire a domestic worker. The employer’s reference to “buying” Haima G. for 10,000 riyals because he had paid a recruitment fee illustrates the sense of ownership that creates slavery-like conditions. ” Throughout this report, there are examples of employers who refer to having paid a lot of money to justify abusive behavior. , employers may convey to their domestic worker the impression that they have been bought, often manipulating migrant women’s isolation and fears about their rights in Saudi Arabia.

Ghazi al-Qusaibi, There are currently about 350 recruiting labor agencies. We will introduce radical reforms to reduce the number to three big agencies, with resources, supervised by the government. We keep closing the bad agencies but new ones come, and we close them…. We want to have requirements that the agents must have a university education and a financial deposit. So many agencies have meager resources, they are small shops with one or two people working there. We will dissolve them and form big, private companies supervised by the government.

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