Kuwait MP demands blacklist of maid abusers


MP Waleed al-Tabtabai said in a statement that employers who abuse their maids "physically or morally" should be added to the blacklist and prevented from hiring new maids.

The lawmaker also urged authorities to refer all employers who physically abuse their maids to court.

The phenomenon of maid abuse "has lately increased to a disturbing level and a large number of abuses are committed annually, with most cases failing to reach the court," said Tabtabai, a member of parliament’s human rights panel.

Kuwait, which has a native population of one million, is home to 2.2 million foreigners, 550,000 of whom are domestic helpers and drivers from Asia, mainly India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Philippines.

Thousands of runaway maids seek refuge at their embassies every year complaining of mistreatment and non-payment of wages.

In June, the US State Department added Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar to its blacklist of countries trafficking in people, accusing them of mistreating foreign workers on whom they rely heavily for mainly menial labour.

Countries on the blacklist — which already includes OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia — could face sanctions, including the withholding of US non-humanitarian, non-trade related aid.

Last week, Kuwait opened a temporary shelter to house runaway maids until their disputes with employers are resolved. Officials said the government plans to open two permanent centres for males and females to be housed separately.




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