Arabia Saudita - Women domestic workers seriously abused (2011)

The 1.5 million women domestic workers are not covered by the labour law adopted in 2005. The embassies of the Asian countries where these women workers come from receive thousands of complaints from women domestic workers who are forced to work between 15 and 20 hours per day, seven days a week, sometimes without pay. Women domestic workers are frequently deprived of their freedom and food and are victims of sexual and psychological abuse and beaten by their employers.

Several cases of extreme violence against women domestic workers caused international outrage. In August, Lahadapurage Daneris Ariyawathie, a 49 year old Sri-Lankan woman who had arrived in Saudi Arabia in March, was repatriated after being tortured by her employers who had driven nails into her arms, legs and forehead because she had complained about her long working hours. She was operated on in Sri Lanka. At the beginning of November, Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, a 23 year old Indonesian woman, was admitted to hospital in Medina after working for four months for a family in the city. She was suffering from scissor incisions to her face, burns and a broken finger. She admitted having been tortured by her employers from the day that she started work. Also in November, the body of another Indonesian worker, Kikim Komalasari was discovered near Abha. The body showed signs of ill treatment. Following the reporting of these cases in the international media and the waves of protests that they caused in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, these migrant women’s employers were arrested.

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