Domestic Workers Trapped, Exploited and Abused in the UAE

Domestic Workers Trapped, Exploited and Abused in the UAE


One time, I complained to Madame. I told her that there’s no food for me. Then she told me , “You know, you’re just something I bought.” “I bought you, so don’t complain. You don’t have the right to complain because we bought you.” Her seven-year-old daughter would translate her Arabic to English for me. The girl said, “We bought you: 10,000 dirhams! [$2,700]” Tens of thousands of women every single year migrate to the United Arab Emirates. They say goodbye to their families and their very young children, and they hope that they will be securing salaries for their family’s futures. But they have no guarantee that they will end up with such salaries, or even good working conditions. After June, people don’t have any means of income besides fishing. When times are really hard, people leave the country to find work. I decided to work abroad because we had a difficult life. My children were always sick and there was never enough food. That’s why I left. Two years there and I would have earned enough to come home and start a business. But I was not lucky. We tracked down some domestic workers in the Philippines, who had returned from the UAE, to discuss what had happened to them. We found that many of them were subject to egregious level of abuses, working very very long hours. Some of them were even physically and sexually abused. My employer’s mother was outside drying dates in the sun. She yelled at me, “Come over here!” She wanted me to help her dry the dates. “I’m ironing clothes,”I responded. I told her her I would come help her as soon as I was done. “Why are you still ironing clothes” I replied that the iron might not have been hot enough. “Let me she!” she said. She grabbed the iron and pressed it against my arm. She said, “There, is it hot? Is it hot now?” I screamed in pain. The UAE facilitates and fosters abuse and exploitation of domestic workers. They are not allowed to transfer employers, even if they are being abused, or receiving far less than what they were promised. They are trapped with that single employer, and only face the option of having to return home if things go wrong. My contract stipulated that I should have eight hours of rest a day, medical assistance, and 15 days of sick leave. I didn’t get anything. We worked nonstop. We worked even when we were sick. My madam gave me my salary for the first month: 800 dirhams [$217]. She told me that everyone agrees to pay 1,000 dirhams in the contract, but no one pays that much. I left, pretended to clean their playroom and cried. I hit the floor with my hands and told myself, “Is this is? It this all?” “I suffered so much for this. Why did I take a chance on this?” I was blaming myself. These women are some of the most vulnerable workers in the country and yet incredibly, they have no protection under the labor law. The labor law in fact explicitly excludes them from it’s protections. My employer would often tell us, “We can easily have you killed any time because nobody sees you here and you’re far away from your family. We can do whatever we want with you.” Domestic workers right now, without any of these legal protections, are very vulnerable. They really need a law that will protect their labor law rights, like every other migrant worker in the country. They need a right to a day-off per week, they need the right to — limits to their working hours, and overtime compensation for when they work beyond those hours. I could no longer take what they were doing to me. I’m a human being. Some say it’s better to just accept being treated like an animal. But I said, I won’t.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. I blame Philippine government , because if these girls would have jobs back home in Philippines all will stay home. They should focus and create jobs anything is better than nothing. Do not go to any Arabic country. ย If you can not find jobs in safe countries stay home.

  2. I donโ€™t understand why these people want to come to Dubai. I work in Dubai and I am very happy here, in fact the Arabs are very human people. But the old folks are also very traditional kind of people, they will love you as their children if you are clean, most of the maid get ill treated or send home because they lead a whoredom life and always argue and provoke the conversation with their employer. Most of the Filipino practice sex free live privately in Dubai, and there is evidence of many of them who got STD and HIV in their subsequent year Visa renewal medical check up. I would say, if they cannot behave modestly and cannot have self control, it is better they stay in their country with their husband.

  3. Why did you have so many babies in the first place. I mean are they retarded. Get yourself together before you have 10 billion kids. My God

  4. Human rights organization what are your actions to help people like her? This is a never ending modern slavery in the arab country.

  5. What goes around comes back , just see by 2030 when Electric vehicles will become 40% of total car production- Oil prices will plunge to 20-25$ range and all these fucking racist people will feel the revenge coming on them for the Crimes they committed on foreign workers. I will cherish to watch them at that time. That day is not far !!

  6. Can someone create an app for mobile phones for domestic workers world wide like grab or Uber or gojek. Example a Singaporean or a EUA saudi wants to work in Nigeria for a prince as a domestic worker they create an account and establish their ID , the employer also establishies an ID. Each worker can leave a feedback or rate the employer after they are done or even if they quit the world will read these comments so there's no escape. This would protects all domestic workers world wide. The app will also deduct state and local taxes and contribute to their retirement. Then there has to be serious punishment for each country where the employer will be severely punished when tried in court. The app will require the person to log in weekly to keep their contract updated and valid and track their labor hours and any form of abuse. The corporate will look into these matters and investigate and ban the employer from using the app, and if another app is competing they will also need to be aware of the employers that are derated and abusive. Banned for life.

  7. Some don't live to tell the story. I have seen horrible videos on social media, of sex slaves, human torture and images which still traumatize me.

  8. Even if God made me a millionaire I would still wash my clothes and press them. I would still cook my food or eat out. Arabs must be too lazy to want house help. If I had a house help she would be indistinguishable from any member of the family.

  9. It clearly mention in our holy book Quran …..treat your employees well ….give them ti eat what ever you eat …and pay them before their swet dry…..and keep fear of Allah in you hearts …..
    I must say any person doing wrong may not be taken as representative of islam.

  10. When you go live Arab countries as a maid, you don't ask to be raped, physically abused and even killed. Most of our women never get paid for their work, their job is not just cooking and cleaning their job entails cleaning their Arab grandparents or their disable family member ass or even Working in farm land, and all without break They don't allow them to use phone, they don't allow them leave the house, they only allow them to eat once a day, they take their passport away, they shackle them with chains, so can't leave, they call them slaves in Arabic language, they borrow house maid from one family to another. I know a lots of stories of house maids killed and buried in the Garden of the Arabs whom they suppose to work. Are they really Muslims? Don't they afraid of Allah or their profit Mohammed? How could they go to Mosque every day or every Friday? After they do this the maids or another person or human being.

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN7OEFyNUkQ&t=2s – This is the message from Princess Latifa, the daughter of UAE's Prime Minister and the Ruler of Dubai. She is begging for her life.

  12. I have been talking to a Philippine lady who is working in Jordan for over a year. She is treated like shit no days off and they keep her prisoner. She gives me a blog everyday. I want to help her get out of that horrible place from horrid people.

  13. Even though the greatest percentage are evil.. But still there are a few who are good…they treat one as a human no matter how rich they are

  14. yes it's true but philipine should akso be in limit even they cross thier limit … even i asked some philipino why are you likr this they reply its open country .. so some people deserve this

  15. It breaks my heart for people who works in the arab world because there is no human rights for foreigners. it is not just maids that are treated low, even Male drivers and other workers.. from India, bangladesh, Africa are treated poorly…reminds of slavery. SA, UAE, LEBANON, JORDAN…..need some basic laws on human rights

  16. All arabs countries they thinks their self as a superiors among other countries. And I am the victim also maltreatment of my employer. That's why I'd fighting to my employer as long that I live and I realized I suffered to much that's my I runaway. ๐Ÿ˜ข

  17. I personally will NEVER go to Saudi Arabia or the Middle East in general, I had a friend from college who went to Dubai for an internship trip and somehow strayed away or lost view of them, from her group and was raped by a group of men! She was dressed very modestly, but she has blonde hair and blue eyes. They could see immediately that she was a tourist. Women should always carry pepper spray and learn mixed martial arts for self defense! My Husband is a Tai Chi Master and has taught me everything he knows. For 18 years I studied and practiced very intense Taekwondo and Karate training! I donโ€™t compete, but I can protect myself if need be. I have only needed to use it once out of defense against a man and he was sent to the Hospital and placed in the ICU for 15 days. I heel kicked him too hard in the temple and he had a brain bleed. Needless to say he never stalked me again! Yes the stalker was an illegal Muslim immigrant in the USA. We was deported after he was released from the hospital back to Jordan. I can say, this man didn't know who he was messing with and was in shock that a small woman kicked his ass!

  18. Oh my gosh"๐Ÿ˜ซI bealeve in karma! This makes me sick! That they are so lazy an feel they are of such superiority! To treat these women so bad! who come to help there lazy butts" An to act on cruility for any reasons is eviel" they should be in prisioned for there crimes against humanity!
    By God they will be! I promise you this…They will be in forever darkness!

  19. I am part Arabic. Please donโ€™t let these monsters fool you. Not all Arabs are like this. We had to live in Dubai for a year because my dad got a job offer (we moved back to Australia soon after) and we had a house maid who we treated like family. Now even though we live in Australia again, we still see her. She comes to visit with her family and we love her a lot. I remember crying so much that day she left. I was 11 and it was the same day we moved back to aus. She and I sat on the floor hugging each other while crying. I will never have anyone like her. I miss her so much and canโ€™t wait to see her again,

  20. This has nothing to do with religion. This is just pure egoistic maniac attitude, they think they have a lot of money, they can treat people like shit. I work as a customer service, oh God, these filthy rich Arabs are the worstttttt to deal with! If they think ALL Muslims like this, thatโ€™s just pure ignorance and shallow.

  21. i.wish god grace with earth quake or destroy these countries for the amount of pain tears they have caused and even death. pls.stop going to such countries for job.

  22. ๆœฌๅˆ€ใซู‡ูู†ู’ุทู ู†ูใ‚ฏใ‚นใƒŽใ‚ฎ ฺฉูุณูู†ูฺฏู says:

    you guys should work here in canada

    we're nice people ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Sad to read this comment: you know you're something that I bought… So strange to hear that๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข

  24. tang ina talaga bakit ba sila kumukuha pa sa pinas ng mag trabahador at bakit sila malayang nakakalakbay sa atin na kala mo e pag aari nila ang pinas. d ko nilalahat pero most of them talaga mga racist at mga gago. sa kakaunting pasahod papatayin pahihirapan ang mga kababayan natin .aba e mas masahol pa sial sa demonyo a.

  25. You are pointing on Arabs, most of them yes, are very arogant and think that if they can afford to pay a domestic worker, then they are allowed to clean the shoes on them, like they are no human, but a carpet. It's sad. but i want to see that u do not generalize. i am from Romania and here domestic workers from phillipines are just as bad treated as in Uae, Malaysia or China, I know the same treatment (shitty) are getting in Italy or France or UK, USA….a.s.o. we forgot to be humans and respect each other no matter of the status we belong to. i hope one day we will stop emigrate and just stay in our own poverty and watch how they struggle. in the last You get what u give. I've seen an Arab comment that the western companies treat them bad. well hunny when u get position as Manager you arabs don't let a skirt pass next u without u watch under. so u do deserve that treatment plus you are very jelous over the money difference. not all arabs are arrogant but 75% are which is the majority.

  26. Somebody should prepare this workers . Give them the right information. The Middle East is not a nice place

  27. ุนู„ูŠ ู…ุง ุฃุนุชู‚ุฏ ุฃู† ุงู„ุฅุณู„ุงู… ุงู„ุณู…ุญุงุก ู„ู… ูŠุบูŠุฑ ููŠ ุญูŠุงุฉ ุฌูŠู„ู†ุง ุงู„ุฌุฏูŠุฏ ู…ู† ุงู„ุนุฑุจ ูˆููŠ ุฃุฎู„ุงู‚ู‡ู… ูˆุณู„ูˆูƒู‡ู… ู…ุน ุงู„ุขุฎุฑูŠู† ุฅู„ุง ู‚ู„ูŠู„ุง ูˆุฃู†ุง ูƒู†ุช ุฃุนู…ู„ ุฅู…ุงู… ู…ุณุฌุฏ ููŠ ุฅู„ุงู…ุงุฑุงุช ุณู†ูˆุงุช ููŠ ู‚ุตุฑ ุดูŠุฎ (ู„ุง ุฃู‚ูˆู„ ุฅุณู…ู‡ ูˆุจูŠุงู†ุงุชู‡ ุนู…ู„ุง ุจู‚ูˆู„ ุงู„ุฑุณูˆู„ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู…ู† ุณุชุฑ ู…ุคู…ู†ุง ุณุชุฑู‡ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูŠูˆู… ุงู„ู‚ูŠู…ุฉ ูˆุงู†ุง ู…ู† ุงู„ู‡ู†ุฏ)ูˆุฑุฃูŠุชู‡ู… ูŠุนูŠุดูˆู† ุนูŠุด ุฑุบุฏ ููŠ ุงู„ุบุงูŠุฉ ูˆู„ุง ูŠู‡ุชู…ูˆู† ุจู…ู† ูŠุนูŠุด ุนู†ุฏู‡ู… ู…ู† ุงู„ุนู…ุงู„ ูˆู„ุง ูŠุฑูŠุฏูˆู† ุฃู† ูŠุตุบูˆุง ุฅู„ูŠ ู…ุดุงูƒู„ู‡ู… ูˆู„ุง ูŠุนุฑููˆู† ุฃู† ู„ู‡ุฐู‡ ุงู„ุนู…ุงู„ ุฃูŠุถุง ุญูŠุงุฉ ูˆุฃุณุฑุฉ ูˆุฃุจู†ุงุก ูˆู‡ู… ูŠุถุญูˆู† ุญูŠุงุชู‡ู… ูˆุญูŠุงุฉ ุฒูˆุฌุงุชู‡ู… ูˆุฃุจู†ุงุกู‡ู… ูˆุขุจุงุฆู‡ู… ูˆุฃู…ู‡ุงุชู‡ู… ู…ู‚ุงุจู„ุง ู„ู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ุฑุงุชุจ ุงู„ู‚ู„ูŠู„ ุฌุฏุง.ูˆู„ูˆ ู‚ู„ุช ุนู†ู‡ู… ููŠ ูƒู„ู…ุฉ ูˆุงุญุฏุฉ ุฃู†ู‡ู… ู…ุดุบูˆู„ูˆู† ุจุฃู† ูŠุฒูŠุฏูˆุง ุซุฑูˆุชู‡ู… ู…ู† ุญู‚ูˆู‚ ุงู„ุนู…ุงู„ ุงู„ู…ุณุงูƒูŠู† ูˆู…ุดุบูˆู„ูˆู† ุจุฃู† ูŠูƒุชุดููˆุง ูƒู„ ูŠูˆู… ุฌุฏูŠุฏุง ู…ู† ุงู„ุชู…ุชุน ููŠ ุญูŠุงุชู‡ู… .

  28. Omg these arabs are worst ppl, dont know if they are proud of the money they have or what? But one thing is sure they dont have brain. Very proud and arrogant people. West is 100000000times better then these arabs atleast they know what humanity is.

  29. Filipino women should not work anymore at UAE.. Only few of them were humans. All were Satan's treating maids like this? I was once work in Kuwait everything is good was working with them as a babysitter am a nurse and I love working with them. but Goin outside like shopping or groceries tog. With my boss I have an experience withthis arabianMuslim was masturbating inside his car while I was waiting my boss to get the car just in front of the grocery.. My goodness I felt I will be rape in that coun. I only work for two months and I talked to my boss and his fam. That I can't finished my contract and I was so lucky that they were so very understanding for my reasons to quit the job.. Thanks to God..

  30. These Arabs Are very stupid some of them racist they should be Locked up and done for what they do to.others A they are an embarrassment to The Muslims we dont need such Arabs whom know not Humanity Wajinga nyinyi sana

  31. The Arabs are very arrogant cruel selfish and illiterate…. they just think only they are human not others May Allah curse them IN SHA ALLAH because Allah doesnโ€™t like this kind of acts they r doing

  32. Arabs are just evil and they call themselves Muslims they go to western countries to spend money on escorts and nightclubs and keep their wives looked up at home ๐Ÿ˜‚

  33. I suggest that no one should go to their country, these people are demons on earth. They kill people like it's a fun game for them.

  34. Lol juz for maids only go there n check many of the labours r not entitled to a day off n have work juz like the maids……y talk abt only the maids should get entitle juz like the rest of the labour? Sarcastic…. it is like talkin abt the woman…….. i respect woman but u need a man too so after we r humans y not talk abt all….

  35. Slave drivers won't be half as cocky if their oil runs out or an alternative energy sources replaced oil over night

  36. Who created Arabs though. I hate hate hate hate these people . May all petroleum explode and burn the whole middle East . They are disgusting and inhuman

  37. eh bkit b kayo pumupunta sa bansa ng arabo?
    kapag binili k n nila bilang katulong at kultura nila yun. kahit ang Dyos walang maiitulong syo. Sila ang panginoon sa bansa nila.

  38. They too are correct 10,000 dihrams is not any small amount. These lazy maids need to bring some reliever to replace them who are hard-working & looking for job.

  39. After reading the comments I feel so lucky I came down to Canada.Employers here are good, understanding and above all they know that they are dealing with a human and not an animal.

  40. They have money but so bloody selfish n arrogant. They are the nastiest employers in the world. They think everyone is a slave. They dont even spare muslims from other countries work there.

  41. Remember, UAE now launched a complaint service to complain against any company in the UAE. If they didn't give you the salary mentioned in the contract or annual leave. The company will be fined against bad rotation with the workers and now giving them the rights.cheera from a local guy

  42. Why the international world does nothing shame is all about money they get from these countries yet they pray 5 days a day, what devil do they pray to treat humans so? Shame on them

  43. ๆœฌๅˆ€ใซู‡ูู†ู’ุทู ู†ูใ‚ฏใ‚นใƒŽใ‚ฎ ฺฉูุณูู†ูฺฏู says:

    good job UAE time to slap these ho's on the butt

    i'm sure they absolutely love it hehehe :3

  44. ๆœฌๅˆ€ใซู‡ูู†ู’ุทู ู†ูใ‚ฏใ‚นใƒŽใ‚ฎ ฺฉูุณูู†ูฺฏู says:

    go away kaffir ladies shoo shoo ๐Ÿ™

  45. Hi

    I am an Indian migrant in UAE ,

    First of all,People from UAE are called Emiratis & Emiratis and Arabs are different.

    This is truly sad to see that domestic workers are being abuse , and this is a true fact .

    But let me tell you UAE has the best Labour protection laws ( not domestic ) in the Middle East .They treat laboures and workers better than Qatar (at least) .

    Although UAE might not have a good domestic abuse protection system , they are the most kindest country in Middle East.

    Their ideology of "do anything to anyone else" is true . However they do only the good stuff. Many people complain of high fees and living cost . But look at it what they are giving you in return High Security , Good Protection laws, .

    Their might not be much freedom in UAE as USA but USA can't give what UAE does.

    This is just to tell the world that UAE is one of the best countries of the world โœŒ

  46. If people who come to the UAE are college educated at least, theyโ€™ll be living a good life. The UAE is an amazing country and Iโ€™ve never ever seen any anything bad there personally

  47. no excuse to anyone for this slavery, no arab is superior to the others, all are humans we all are equal, they should be punished, for each and every exploitation they do to the workers, but the law takes a lot of time, and these people can manipulate things easily as it is their home country. may allah help all those who are trapped in modern slavery.

  48. Islam is a devil religion spread by the paedophile prophet which was an outcast so he decided to make his own religion by copying the bible and torah.

  49. I feel sorry for them cause those Arabs they don't care whether u are domestic worker or professional nurses as long as you're from other countries you're nothing to them

  50. These heartless bastards will pay for the tears of these poor innocent girls. What goes around comes back around mofos. You can walk around sipping your Starbucks wearing Chanel and driving your Porsche now but youโ€™ll burn in Hell.

  51. Oh dear! Don't never run after money from the rich countries. Then you don't need to suffer. Be happy with your own family, even if it poor.

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