Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I've talked with people who work with abused domestic helpers in their embassies and I was able to get a rough estimate on the numbers we are dealing with:

400 maids at the Ethiopian embassy (embassy already full and now turning away runaways)
400 maids at the Indonesian Embassy
100 - 300 maids at the Philippines Embassy (it fluctuates pretty often)
300 at the Sri Lankan embassy.
I also know that Indian embassy officials dragged out a crying and pleading Indian woman from the embassy in plain sight of everyone, who was claiming abuse, and telling her that was not the place for her to go.

These numbers are obviously not accurate down to the last person - they are rough estimates. And I can tell you that these ladies are not all happy and healthy. Having personally been to the Philippines embassy myself, I was devastated to see women lined up from corner to corner in a basement room, taking up every available space.

A human being is not a number. Every single person deserves to be treated as a special, unique individual. But even when dealing with numbers, please remember that these are only runaways that make it to the embassy. There are more like these in the hospitals, in their employer's homes, in the jails and deportation centre, hiding out illegally somewhere in Kuwait, forced into prostitution and of course - in the morgue.


Anonymous said...

I know you're not getting a lot of comments. I bet you are still getting a lot of readers. I get the feeling the community is almost on compassion-fatigue; they know the problem exists, they know the extent of it, and it doesn't seem like anything is making any difference, there is SO much abuse.

I know it sounds funny, but I think some things are getting better. I haven't seen anyone slap a maid in public for a long time. I rarely see maids sitting alone in the restaurants, with nothing to eat while the family dines in abundance. I take this as progress.

nabeel said...

i certainly hope things are better... there is certainly more attention to the topic nowadays.

I am not certain of the numbers before, so I cant say if its gotten better or worse. however the present numbers are shocking so its hard to imagine it worse. But I hope you're right.

in two weeks, al razi hospital has had 11 new abused maids in there. It's mind boggling.

What I'd like to figure out is the motivation behind all the abuse. I have my theories but Im not ready to post on them yet - they are still assumptions. All I've realised so far is that the position of abuser - is a human condition, into which we can all fall if we are not careful- perhaps even more easily than we think. more on that later...

thanks for reading though intlxpatr. :)

nadeem said...

Nabeel, please contact me when you have a moment: