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‘Continuous abuse may draw violent reaction from maids’ ‘Set up panel to probe real cause’

The Negative Phenomenon Committee at the parliament discussed recently “the possibility of requiring domestic workers to undergo psychological and mental tests, as well as complete training programs, before they are allowed to enter the country.

The Chairman of the committee explains that “it has become necessary to take decisive steps as the number of household workers is now estimated at 600,000”.

Speaking further to reporters the Chairman of the parliamentary committee underlined what he describes as “the rising rate of crimes and violations committed by domestic workers.” (See Arab Times April 17, 2014).

I recently wrote an article in the Arab Times about the issue of domestic workers’ violence entitled: ‘Psychological Profiling Of Kuwait Housemaids Needed,” in which I suggested the following: “There is actually a need to start a process of psychological profiling of maids before they arrive in the country to check whether some are prone to violence than others.

The government needs to provide more protection to expat and Kuwaiti sponsors against some domestic laborers’ abuse and violence” (end quote).

However, the issue of the treatment of domestic workers in Kuwait becomes complicated due to different causes.

For instance, it is impossible for any person not to get uneasy and agitated when their passport gets withheld by their employer! Domestic workers in Kuwait practice their profession in different household environments.

Sometimes, workers get lucky and find work in a friendly family environment.

In other words, most Kuwaiti and expatriate sponsors of domestics tend to be rather friendly, cooperative and humane.

However, it so happens that there are few sponsors who have no shred of humanity in them! How can a domestic worker deal with those kinds of sponsors who psychologically, verbally and physically abuse them? It is actually very difficult for any normal human being not to lose their mind if they become constant victims of a continual series of abuses.

Instead of blaming those estimated 600,000 household workers in Kuwait for some of our social problems; why does not the government or the parliament set up a committee to investigate the real causes of some of the violence? I have personally witnessed cases in which the Asian domestic worker is forced to wear almost tattered, shabby and inappropriate uniforms.

Moreover, instead of providing some maids with clean and professional uniforms, some sponsors just give them very cheap clothes which do not fit with uniform specifications.

Furthermore, I heard about cases in which the sponsor withholds, and in fact refuses to give his maid her salary; justifying his/her actions with a dishonest excuse:”they will give the maid all her salaries when she satisfies the requirements of her contract with the family”! In addition to demanding that domestic workers get tested mentally, provided with training programs, why not require the sponsor to do the same?

I rest my case!

Follow me on Twitter @khaledaljenfawi

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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