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"As If I Am Not Human": Abuses against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia

“As If I Am Not Human”

Abuses against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia

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I. Summary

Legal Framework and Recruitment Practices

Abuses against Domestic Workers

Poor Redress Mechanisms

Key Recommendations to the Government of Saudi Arabia

Key Recommendations to the Governments of Migrants’ Countries of Origin (including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal)

II. Methodology

III. Asian Women’s Labor Migration to Saudi Arabia

Asian Women’s Status and Reasons for Migration

Women’s Status in Saudi Arabia

Scale of Abuses

IV. Legal Framework for Migrant Domestic Workers

Exclusion from Labor Laws

The Kafala System

Employment Contracts and Recruitment Practices

International Agreements

Recent Reforms

V. Forced Labor, Trafficking, Slavery, and Slavery-like Conditions

Forced Labor

Trafficking

Slavery and Slavery-like Conditions

VI. Recruitment and Immigration-related Abuses, and Forced Confinement

Abuses by Recruitment Agents in Labor-sending Countries

Abuses by Recruitment Agents in Saudi Arabia

Confinement by Employers

VII. Psychological, Physical, and Sexual Abuse

Psychological and Verbal Abuse

Physical Abuse

Food Deprivation

Sexual Harassment and Abuse

VIII. Labor Abuses and Exploitation

Low and Unequal Wages

Unpaid Wages and Salary Deductions

Excessive Workload, Long Working Hours, Lack of Rest Periods

Inadequate Living Accommodation

IX. Criminal Cases Against Domestic Workers

Procedural Violations

Countercharges of Theft, Witchcraft, or False Allegations

“Moral” Crimes

X. Saudi Protection Measures and Gaps

Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) Center for Domestic Workers

Deportation

Repatriation of Migrants’ Remains

The Criminal Justice System

XI. Labor-sending Countries’ Protection Measures and Gaps

Constraints to Working in Saudi Arabia

Lack of Resources and Uneven Response

Arbitration of Labor Disputes by Foreign Missions

XII. Detailed Recommendations

To the Government of Saudi Arabia

To the Governments of Migrants’ Countries of Origin (including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal)

To All Governments

To the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

To Donors such as the World Bank and Private Foundations

Acknowledgments

 


July 2008    ISBN: 1-56432-351-X