GULF DIGITAL NEWS
7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

20 face legal action in maid abuse claim

DIPLOMATS have taken legal action against 20 Bahrainis for allegedly abusing and overworking their maids, it has emerged.

The Indonesian women claim they have been unfairly treated by their employers, beaten, not paid for months, and deprived of vacation days.

They are being sheltered at the Indonesian Embassy in Juffair, where a spokesman told the GDN that the number of maids seeking refuge has drastically increased in the last two months.

'We are facing a major problem as more housemaids are coming to the shelter with complaints of being overworked, abused and unpaid wages,' said the spokesman.

'We have filed cases against 20 employers who abused their maids and didn't pay their salaries.

'The number of sheltered maids has increased to 20, after four came last week with complaints of being abused by their employers and non-payment of wages.

'We took the matter to the court after the Labour Ministry and the Labour Market Regularity Authority (LMRA) were unable to solve this problem.

'Seven court hearings are pending since December 22, and the next hearing will be today.

'The major problem we are facing is that employers completely ignore our calls and do not co-operate at all.

'We have many times raised this issue with authorities, who launched investigation into this and have pledged to help us.'

He said most of the employers demand money from the maids to release them from their contractual obligations, as some of the women run away before completing their two-year agreement.

'It is difficult for the maids to pay the amount which ranges from BD500 to BD800,' he explained. 'So, they call their families back home, who sell property, land or jewellery to pay this amount.'

Registration

The spokesman urged all Indonesians working in Bahrain, especially domestic workers, to register their contacts with the diplomatic mission and get officials to review their contracts.

'As soon as they come to work in Bahrain, they should come and attest their contract at the embassy,' he added.

'This is one way to register themselves at the embassy for emergency cases and to be on the safer side.'

More than 10,000 Indonesians are living in Bahrain, according to statistics held by the Indonesian Embassy, with the majority of them employed as domestic workers.

The GDN reported last week that rogue employers based in Bahrain were trafficking Indonesian housemaids into Saudi Arabia, despite an official ban on their employment there.

This has become a major problem in recent years and officials are struggling to stem the tide of domestic workers passing through Bahrain on their way to Saudi.

Jakarta announced a freeze on sending new workers to Saudi Arabia in 2011, after Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Satubi was beheaded for stabbing her employer to death.

This ban was then extended to Qatar, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait amid complaints of abuse and unfair treatment of Indonesian nationals, but Bahrain and the UAE remain unaffected.

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