Maid ‘abuse’ of babe goes viral

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 4: A video of a maid abusing a 1-year old baby is going viral on Facebook among the Indian community in Kuwait, throwing into stark relief issues surrounding illegal maids hired by working couples.

This is the second such video that has caught public attention, after a similar incident more than three years ago in Abassiya.

In the new video, caught on hidden camera, the maid is seen kicking, beating and pinching the helpless child. The five minute video shows the maid venting her frustration on the child, sometimes dragging it by a leg.

The video has supers appearing intermittently explaining the scenes, and ends by saying the maid has gotten away, “and is probably working somewhere else.”

The earlier abuse video was released as CDs by the parents of the victim and distributed around with an aim to create awareness on violence against children and alert working parents entrusting their children with maids.

It showed the maid beating a 3-year old child. It was more violent and shocking than the new video. The maid was shown pulling the child violently down from the sofa and dragging it along the floor. She was mostly watching TV ignoring the wailing child near her. Whenever the crying got too irksome, she would slap the child and inspect its face for marks.

The parents of the child thought of fixing a hidden camera in the house on the advice of a child psychologist who was consulted because of the child’s withdrawn behavior.

Community leaders speaking to the Arab Times on the issue were unanimous in condemning the violence against children, but had different points of views on the causes behind it.

The problem of illegal maids is rather complicated, they said, “ they are themselves the victims of fraud and abuse. They are women who come to Kuwait on high hopes of living a comfortable life and earning a handsome income based on the false promises of unscrupulous agents.

“However, they come here to a life of hardship and meager pay. In some cases, they are also physically abused, driving them to run away from their sponsors. It is often these women, who lack proper documents, who end up as maids in the houses of expatriates.”

To entrust children in the care of such traumatized women always carries a risk, they noted. “Nobody really knows the backgrounds of these runaway maids, which adds to the risk element.”

From interviews with various social organizations conducted by Arab Times, it has been found that the need to formalize laws concerning domestic workers is long overdue. There’s a need for a proper legislation of domestic workers’ laws similar to the labor law, says Advocate Thomas Panicker, President of Indian Lawyers Forum.

Others noted that working parents have to rely on legitimate recruitment agents to find domestic workers. “Parents who settle for runaway maids because it’s easier to hire them, and also because they come cheap, are walking a tight rope,” they added.

Further, they advised that parents have to spend as much time as possible with children and look for signs of abuse. It could be marks on their body or they could be very withdrawn and quiet. In some cases, children express undue fear. “These could be signs of abuse.”

However, the community leaders stressed that abuse is still the exception and not the rule. “Do not unnecessarily suspect your maids, unless you have valid reasons. It also helps to be nice and gentle to your maids. This will reflect in their behavior to your children.”

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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