Thursday, June 12, 2008

How Many Maids Must Be Tortured Before It Stops?!?

How often are we seeing reports in the newspapers of "tortured maids?" Once a week? If we read a report of a maid being mistreated, even just once a week, that is fifty-two maids a year, and it is fifty-two too many. And how many of these maids must die? When will authorities here actually start doing something about the problem instead of just proffering the usual lip service?

The maids that are here know they are in a tenuous situation - they could contact authorities to report that they are being abused, but somehow no matter what happens the blame is ultimately placed on the maids and the maids have no recourse whatsoever. At best the maid would be sent back to wherever she came from which defeats her purpose of coming her to earn a living to provide for her family in whatever country. Would she even be given her pay - all of her unpaid wages - before going home? Absolutely not. That's the way it works here. And we all know that is the way it works here - this sponsorship program where families import maids from other countries - mistreat and abuse them and DON'T pay them. All of them? No. Oh, sure, there will be letters to the editor of the paper in the next couple of days saying "most maids are well treated and cared for blah, blah, blah and it is too bad about this one" but I contend that it is the rare family that treats the maid well and cares for her.

And, yes. It is too bad about this one. The poor woman was taken to the hospital with "torture" wounds covering her body and in an emaciated state. "Authorities who examined the body found out that she had bruises, contusions, fresh wounds and scars on her back, legs, and thighs and in other parts of the body." Her sponsor and his wife and family - her immediate employers - will, of course, deny any wrong-doing and argue that the maid bumped into furniture or entangled her own self in a cord or some other equally ridiculous explanation which caused her body to be covered with wounds and scars. The excuses have already begun with her employer stating that "the housemaid was ... on [a] hunger strike and had not taken food for five days." Yeah. Right. Bullshit.

The sponsor, this man who employed her, "was immediately put under investigation... If he is found guilty, he will be punished and sentenced for his crime..." I think we ALL know how this works. There is only the slightest, most remote possibility that her sponsor will be found guilty - they rarely are - and if he is, his punishment and sentencing will be trivial: He will not be able to get another maid from Indonesia but will have to get one from Sri Lanka, instead.

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