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More Indonesian Maids Suffering
Abuse Now

Anwar Ahmad
Filed on April 2, 2010

ABU DHABI — The Indonesian embassy said it had registered a rise of 24.21 per cent in the number of incidents of exploitation of housemaids in Abu Dhabi emirate in 2009 over 2008, a diplomat of the embassy told Khaleej Times.

Among the total number of complaints received from housemaids, 34.03 per cent of the cases were about unpaid salaries and 26.88 per cent were aboutwork overload.

According to the records of the embassy, in 2009, a total of 2,599 complaints received from housemaids in Abu Dhabi were about unpaid salaries, unbearable work and physical and sexual harassment and maltreatment, while in 2008, this number was 1,618 cases, and in 2007 it was 1,716.

“The significant rise in the number of complaints from housemaids is a matter of serious concern for the embassy. That is why, the Indonesian government is constantly focusing on promoting recruitment of skilled and qualified labourers to the UAE,” Indonesian ambassador to the UAE, M. Wahid Supriyadi said.

Around 25 per cent of the Indonesian workforce in the UAE are skilled and 75 per cent unskilled. “But we have clear indication from the central government of Indonesia to balance this ratio at least by 50 per cent with skilled workforce in the upcoming months. Gradually, the 50 per cent unskilled workers will be replaced by skilled workers,” the envoy said.

Owing to various reasons of inconvenience with their sponsors, in 2009, 326 housemaids were repatriated to Indonesia, while in 2008, 273 housemaids were sent back to the country,Supriyadi said.

In 2009, complaints about non-payment of wages stood at 34.03 per cent, which in 2008 was 25.50 per cent. Cases of sexual harassment, physical abuses reduced at 0.71 per cent in 2009 from 6.63 per cent in 2008, he said.

There are approximately 75,000 Indonesian workers in the UAE and most of them are unskilled workers but this number is gradually going down, with more skilled workers coming in. “We have good cooperation with the UAE government to sort out our workers’ problems,” the ambassador said.

“Housemaids are sent here by recruitment agencies who are not well prepared to take up such jobs here and fall prey to malpractices. The problems come due to gap in communication between the housemaids and their sponsors,” Supriyadi pointed out.

The mission held unscrupulous agents, who change the clauses in the contract documents during translation from Arabic to English, responsible for malpractices.

The contract documents are in Arabic and these agents change them when they translate them in English for the information of the housemaids, which creates problems later, the envoy said.

adel@khaleejtimes.com


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