Complaints from Indonesian Maids Drop in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI - The Embassy of Indonesia has reported a 35.94 per cent drop in the number of incidents of exploitation of housemaids in Abu Dhabi emirate in 2008 from 2007.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Fri 13 Mar 2009, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 8:23 PM

According to the records, the embassy received 597 complaints of unpaid salaries, unbearable work, physical and sexual harassment and bad treatment in 2008, as compared to 932 cases in 2007 and 681 cases in 2006.

‘’Despite the drop, the number of complaints from maids is still high, and we are very concerned about the issue,’’ Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE Wahid Supriyadi told Khaleej Times recently. As many as 441 housemaids, who were not ready to continue to work for their sponsors for various reasons, were repatriated to Indonesia in 2008, Supriyadi said.

Non-payment of wages topped the list of complaints with 177 cases. As many as 158 maids complained ofbad treatment and 99 others complained of unbearable work.

The envoy said around 74,000 Indonesians work in the UAE.

“Around 75 per cent of them are unskilled. The Government of Indonesia wants to bring down this by at least 50 per cent. Gradually, 50 per cent of the unskilled workers in the UAE will bereplacedbyskilled workers.” The Indonesian Embassy has recommended to Jakarta to gradually reduce the number of housemaidsworking abroad because they face most of the problems. ‘’We are encouraging our skilledworkers to try for jobsabroad,’’ the ambassador said.

“We think the housemaids who are sent here by recruitment agencies are not well prepared to take up such jobs. Problems arise due to the gapin communication between the maids and their sponsors.”

The embassy has asked all recruitment agencies, which are approved by the embassy, to get the contract documents of maids verified by the mission.

The mission held unscrupulous agents, who change the clauses in the contracts during translation from Arabic to English,responsible for the problems faced by the maids.

Most of the maids coming here are from remote villages. They are uneducated and unskilled.

“I would say that it is not possible to stop sending them abroad immediately, but we would concentrate on reducing their numbers gradually and promote skilled labourers,” Supriyadi said.

“We are facing similar problems in other countries in the Gulf region as well. The largest number of Indonesian workforce is in Saudi Arabia - around one million.”

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