Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Working Like a Robot"

Tanzanian domestic workers in the Gulf are beaten, sexually assaulted and deprived of pay, rights campaigners said.

Thousands of Tanzanian women work in the Middle East, lured by promises of salaries 10 times higher than they could earn at home. But visa-sponsorship rules in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, known as the kafala system, mean they cannot change jobs without their employer's consent and can be charged with "absconding" if they flee, Human Rights Watch said. Recruiters are increasingly turning to East Africa where protections are weaker. Employers often got away with paying East Africans far less than Asians.
Most of the  women interviewed were made to work 15 to 21 hours a day and had their passports confiscated, HRW said. More than half were underpaid and some said they were not paid at all. Around two in five reported physical abuse and the same proportion said they were sexually harassed or assaulted.
One Tanzanian woman employed in Oman told researchers how her employers attacked her when she returned from hospital after fainting. She said she was raped by her employer after being stripped and beaten by two women in the family. "They took the money I earned ... I was scared, traumatised, and didn't know who to speak to," she was quoted as saying.
Another woman, who worked 17-hour days, said she fled after being sexually assaulted. But when she tried to file a complaint with the police they told her she faced charges for running away and said she must pay a fine of more than $500 or spend time in jail.
Anti-Slavery International said abuse was very common and called on Tanzanian embassies to do much more to help exploited workers. "It is outrageous that they are being sent back to abusive situations when they ask for help," said spokesman Jakub Sobik.

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