Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maid Abuse Concerns Indonesian Embassy

'Bout time for some concern. Gee. It only took 258 cases of sexual and physical abuse of Indonesian maids in the first six months of 2008 for someone to decide there just might be a problem. Sukamto Javaladi, labor attaché at the Indonesian Embassy, reported yesterday "that it logged 102 reported sexual assaults of Indonesian maids in the first half of 2008... in addition to 156 cases of physical torture reported... from January to June this year." Mr. Javaladi said "The Indonesian Embassy is seeing a steady upward trend in the number of reported cases of sexual assaults, while thousands of women also suffer working inhumane hours for almost no pay with many enduring abuse by their Saudi employers." Hmmph. I've been saying this all along... inhuman hours for almost no pay, that is.

Mr. Javaladi, no doubt in an effort to lessen the blow to some fragile Saudi egos, "described the deplorable treatment of maids [as] 'minimal' compared to the large number of Indonesian women - estimated at 626,000 - working in the Kingdom. Indonesia sends the highest number of women to work in Saudi Arabia. As far as cases of (general) abuse is concerned, the Indonesian Embassy recorded 3,428 cases, which does not include complaints lodged at the Consulate General in Jeddah." I'm no math wiz, but if there are 626,000 Indonesian women working here of which 3,428 have complained, isn't that about five and a half or six percent? And, if that five and a half or six percent doesn't include ALL of the complaints, what is the percentage? It is as high as ten percent? Higher? Are alarm bells NOT ringing somewhere?!?

"...cases typically involve breach of contract and wage disputes... Among common violations, many of which go unreported, is expecting maids to be at work any time of the day or night, seven days a week." There is a solution. Stop sending Indonesian women, here, to be slaves maids! It is a lose - lose situation. Women here would have to make their own beds and run their own bath water; and Indonesia would miss out on the financial gain - although since the pay is trivial to begin with, it might not even be missed.

Mr. Javaladi said "the embassy has been assured by senior Saudi officials that they would take stern action, including imprisonment, against those employers who violate maids' rights." Yeah. Bullshit. Hasn't happened yet, has it? Won't be happening anytime soon, either. There is "no ban on recruitment to Saudi Arabia, which hires the largest number of domestic workers from Indonesia." The issue, according to Mr. Javaladi, is "delicate." Okay. That would be one way to describe it. Certainly not the way I would describe it, but I do understand the "game" that has to be played so as not to offend anyone...

The entire article is here.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this is a big problem but clearly you can't do math! 3,428 abuse reports out of 626,000 is 0.54% or about one in every 200 people, not 5-6%! Don't misrepresent the data! It wouldn't be any better (possibly much worse)if you compared it to the rates of "reported" abuse for domestic workers in the USA.

    In the end, what percentage of the cases turned out to be legitimate? One must see the story from all perspectives!


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