During Ramadan Saudi Arabians encouraged to lock up their housemaids - slavery rhetoric

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During Ramadan Saudi Arabians encouraged to lock up their housemaids - slavery rhetoric

It is claimed that the rate of housemaids running away from their sponsors usually increases as the holy month of Ramadan approaches. They escape as they are often able to command larger salaries of around SR2,500 per month, particularly because many Saudi families find it difficult to manage without a house help during the fasting month.

The pressing need for housemaids during Ramadan drives some families to employ illegal foreign maids, particularly in larger cities such as Jeddah, Riyadh and Makkah.

However, a housemaid who successfully escapes often gives her original sponsor the headache of having to recruit a replacement, which may cost as much as SR10,000 in addition to residence fees. Moreover, the maid might steal from the house before running away.

Citizen Muslih Al-Rifae said it was noticeable that a growing number of housemaids usually flee from their sponsors when Ramadan nears searching for better pay.

“The housemaids will continue to run away even if their sponsors are regularly paying them their monthly salaries,” he said.

Al-Rifae said many brokers from their native lands encourage the housemaids to escape for better payment during Ramadan. Most of these brokers hang around malls and supermarkets hunting for easy prey.

The brokers will offer a housemaid or driver a monthly salary of around SR2,500, in addition to accommodation and food. They then take around SR500 a month in commission.

Faisal Al-Matrafi called for crackdowns near malls and supermarkets to arrest runaway housemaids as well as the brokers.

Fawziyah G. said a possible solution was to install iron bars as well as electric curtains on windows and hide the apartment key away from the housemaids.

“Cameras may also be planted in various areas of the house to observe the movements of the housemaid 24/7,” she suggested.

Recruitment office owner Muhammad Al-Subhi said he was embarrassed whenever a housemaid ran away from her sponsor, especially as he has paid a lot of money to recruit her.

He also asked employers to be good to housemaids and treat them nicely.

“There are some Saudis who mistreat their housemaids, compelling them to run away,” he said.

Nasser Al-Subaie says he recruited a housemaid from Indonesia and paid a lot of money to cover her expenses. When she landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport immigration officials discovered that she could not enter the Kingdom as she had a criminal record.

“She was sent back home and I lost the money I had spent on her recruitment,” he said.

An official from the National Recruitment Committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers said Saudi embassies abroad would be connected to the same fingerprinting system currently in use at airports to prevent foreign recruits with criminal records from returning to the country.

 http://arabnews.com/saudiar...
By netchicken: posted on 3-8-2010








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