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Use of smartphone by domestic workers, a concern for sponsors

Difficult to monitor their activities: Prof Al-Shalal

Dr Al-Shalal

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 29: Khalid Al-Shalal, Professor of Sociology at the Kuwait University says it is difficult to monitor the activities of domestic workers who use the smartphones or even determine the appropriate manner to find a solution to some issues, reports Al-Qabas daily.

He pointed to the existence of two aspects of smartphones users. The positive side is that the nature of the use of the phone by the domestic worker because this gadget allows the worker communicate with the family and receive instructions from sponsors, while the negative side is that it is difficult to monitor them.

Security expert retired Major-General Hamad Al-Suraie said the danger lies in the misuse of the phone by domestic workers such as the fear of getting involved in illegal relationships and violating the customs and traditions of the Kuwaiti families.

One of the main dangers is inviting men into the home while the families are away and having illegal sexual relations or stealing valuables.

He cited the political circumstances and diplomatic differences between the governments of the Philippines and Kuwait on the issue of hiring of domestic workers from Manila led to the imposition of conditions by the Philippines government to protect its domestic workers, and one of the clauses in the agreement allows a domestic worker to have a cell phone to communicate with the embassy of his/her country in cases of abuse by employer or in any unforeseen circumstances.

He pointed out the Kuwaitis have no objection to a domestic worker or the housemaid using a cell phone to communicate with his/her family in their home country from time to time. The domestic worker also has the right to communicate with the embassy of his/ her country if a problem arises with the sponsor and was unable to report the incident to the Kuwaiti police.

He added this is not a big concern of the Kuwaiti families, but monitoring the behavior of domestic workers is a duty and a necessity to prevent them from indulging in any immoral or illegal activities. He pointed out that there are many Kuwaitis who end up having problems with the security authorities and others because of crimes or bad behavior of the domestic workers.

He noted, the National Assembly is now required, after the circumstances imposed on the sponsor, to amend the legislation on the domestic workers so that those who shelter fugitives pay the fine and are held accountable.

This is in addition to subjecting a fugitive maid to pay fine when caught by the police. Attorney Talal Al-Obeid said allowing a domestic worker to carry a cellphone should not be made mandatory since it is originally a prior agreement between the worker and the sponsor. “It is permissible for the parties to agree on the matter or reject it, and no one should be forced to do so,” Al- Obeid added.

On the issue of sexual relationship, the consent of the domestic helper or rejection appears in the investigations, but in the case of a sexual assault on them, she is in this case a victim, and must file a complaint.

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