Monday, January 24, 2011

The Maid - Unholy Acts In The Holiest Place (2)

Two female migrant workers in Saudi Arabia who are suffering permanent injuries are currently being treated in their hometowns in West Nusa Tenggara.

60 more housemaids from Dompu in West Nusa Tenggara are awaiting to be sent home.

25-year old Yanti Yusepa from West Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara went to Saudi Arabia on August 29 and returned to Indonesia on October 6, paralysed from the waist down after jumping from a second-story window to get away from what she called chronically abusive employers.
She is waiting for her insurance payout: If there is.
Within the short period, she worked for three different families in Saudi Arabia, fleeing from the first two after they starved and physically abused her.
The third family was most cruel - the daughters would burn her with a hot iron while their mother would beat her.
The abuse on her drove her to jump from second floor window.
“Not a single person was willing to help me when they saw me fall.”

According to her, at least 26 more have also been abused by their employers, in some cases sexually.

27-year-old Selvia from Sumbawa, a district of West Nusa Tenggara, returned home in July 2010.
She worked for her employer as a domestic worker in Nabuk.
But the employer made her doing a back-breaking work.
She did just that: Lifting heavy gas canisters.
It broke her back.
It takes her a great effort to bend, or to walk.
And, Selvia is unable to walk properly.
She is partially paralysed since 2007.

Warni Binti Mahrip, a domestic helper, died after she fell from the upper floor of her employer’s home, also in Tabuk, on June 4.

And Nurul Binti Muhtar Lano, died four months later in October, due to illness.


Such stories are common, but only receive sporadic attention.
The recently discovered horrific abuse of Sumiati, from West Nusa Tenggara too, let others knew that now, more than 350 domestic workers from West Nusa Tenggara are currently stationed overseas and may be facing abuse or inhumane working conditions.

About 52 workers from the province were living under a Saudi bridge, awaiting repatriation.
Sumiati, an 18-year old girl led an unusual protest.
It even made Saudi Arabia's labour ministry bowed to say a very rare sorry.

West Nusa Tenggara, is the second biggest district to send workers abroad after West Java.
But in terms of percentage, it is the biggest.

Many women in West Nusa Tenggara, especially in remote areas, are still unaware of their rights as housewives, and the condition is concerning, a local family welfare activist said.
They are in a weak position in the family and had no choice but accept their husbands' ill treatment.
Many had been used as 'capital' by their husbands who send them to work abroad as migrant workers as house maids in Saudi Arabia and use their wives` monthly income even to get married to another woman.

Some, after all the money sent home, they were divorced by their husbands.
They are often defenseless.
They are unaware of their rights as housewives, or not courageous enough to take actions.

Now, West Nusa Tenggara, one of the 33 Indonesian provinces, had banned recruitment of its residents for work in Saudi Arabia following Sumiati's high-profile abuse case.
Meanwhile, it is in the process of providing halfway house to shelter abused maids hailed from West Nusa Tenggara.
The house will also serve as a pre-departure centre for future domestic maids.

The Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration is likely to ban parents with children under the age of 5 from working abroad, unless they can show proof that their children’s nutritional needs would be taken care of.
It was noted that children suffering from malnutrition tended to come from the families of migrant workers.

These migrant workers mothers left their children in the care of elderly relatives who often failed to provide adequate nutrition for the children.
The kids were more likely to be fed the same food that the elders were eating themselves, which is lacking in the nutrients required for growing children.

Last year, data collected from 10 districts in West Nusa Tenggara recorded 756 cases of children suffering from malnutrition, including severe forms of protein-energy malnutrition.
25 have since died.
There were 926 cases recorded during 2009 and 1,207 in 2008.

United Nations Children’s Fund report in January 2010, found that at least 7.6 million Indonesian children suffered from stunted growth, a primary manifestation of malnutrition.
Worldwide, Indonesia ranked the fifth largest number of children under the age of 5 suffering from stunted growth.


On November 26, An Indonesian maid of two weeks had suffered broken bones after jumping three floors down from her employer's house in Al-Salam, Northern Jeddah.
Then she hid herself under a parked car.
In a police report, her employer had, two days earlier, intended to return her to the agency for her unsatisfactory work performance.

A 29-year-old Indonesian maid is currently in intensive care after jumping from the third floor of a building while trying to run away from her sponsor of three months in the Al-Kakiya district of Mecca.
She is thought to have fractured some bones and suffered internal bleeding.

On December 3, a maid, said to be Indonesian, fell to her death from the window of a third-floor apartment in Jeddah.
She had attempted to escape using a rope of knotted clothes.
The maid's body is currently at the Forensic Medicine Administration for further forensic examination.


Maid Abuse Rampant In Region, Says Magazine

JEDDAH: A Saudi women’s magazine has published an article highlighting the abuse of maids and the need to find solutions to the problem, not just in the Kingdom but across the region.
According to the article in Sayidaty magazine (a sister publication of Arab News), many housemaids across the region are abused in a variety of ways from physical abuse to not being provided with food. It also adds that such maids have no rights and that they hardly see justice except when a major development occurs.
“Local newspapers have recently been publishing a lot about maid abuse in the Kingdom and this is where we decided to not just write about the horror stories but also find solutions to the problem,” said Mona Siraj, managing editor of Sayidaty magazine in Jeddah.
“Our responsibility as a magazine that cares for social issues is to give our readers the perfect and real picture … in addition to allowing the authorities and human rights’ bodies to respond,” she added.
According to the article, there are some 2 million housemaids in the Kingdom, 660,000 in Kuwait and 79,000 in Bahrain. In the United Arab Emirates, housemaids outnumber families. It said in Egypt there are 177 recruitment offices, of which only three are legal.
“Until now, there aren’t any regulation that protects both the maid and the employer and we are demanding this to assure security for both sides,” said Siraj. “I believe that these problems should be out in the public to spread awareness in society. We are giving the opportunity through the magazine to both sides to know their rights.”
In Saudi Arabia, a maid had her lips cut out and abused in other ways for misbehaving. Maids are beaten with electric cables for breaking cups in Egypt, thrown out in the streets in Bahrain and locked indoors in the Emirates, reports Sayidaty.

Source: Arab News - January 19, 2011

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