Jan 11 2013
A 2010 Human Rights Watch report, “As If I Am Not Human,” based on extensive interviews with domestic workers in Saudi Arabia as well as in their home countries, described conditions amounting to modern-day slavery:
Most domestic workers reported working 15-20 hours a day, typically with one hour of rest or no rest at all. None of the interviewees had a day off or paid leave. Domestic workers reported having to work even when ill or injured and had little access to health care. Furthermore, many domestic workers were employed in large houses but reported inadequate living accommodations, including having to sleep in areas such as storage closets, and in one case, a bathroom.
Sexual abuse of domestic workers by employers in Saudi Arabia seems not uncommon, according to the Human Rights Watch report. “Examples of abuse included beatings, deliberate burnings with hot irons, threats, insults, and forms of humiliation such as shaving a domestic worker’s head. We interviewed women who reported rape, attempted rape, and sexual harassment, typically by male employers or their sons, and in some instances, by other foreign workers whom they had approached for assistance,” the report added. An Indonesian woman named Darsem Binti Dawud was sentenced to death in 2009 after killing her employer, who she said was trying to rape her; she eventually returned home in July, 2011, after, according to Saudi tradition, the slain employer’s family agreed to waive her death sentence in exchange for blood money—an amount of U.S. $549,900, which was paid by the Indonesian government.
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/01/a-maids-execution-in-saudi-arabia.html#ixzz2HjhBnsyT