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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Plight of domestic worker beaten in Qatar sparks outcry

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Photo of Hamad Hospital for illustrative purposes only.
Photo of Hamad Hospital for illustrative purposes only.

Updated at 12:25pm on April 20 to include statements from Hamad Medical Corp. and the Indonesian embassy.

In a case that’s spurred online outrage and drawn attention to the vulnerability of domestic workers in Qatar, an Indonesian woman has been hospitalized for more than three days following a beating that left her with multiple injuries.

The 25-year-old woman, who spoke to Doha News through a translator and asked not to be named, said she fled her sponsor’s home on Wednesday after being beaten with the metal end of a hose used to siphon water.

Bruises on the victim.
Bruises on the victim.

She said she ran to a neighboring house, where a domestic worker allowed her to come inside. The friend then called the police, who upon seeing the victim, called an ambulance.

She was taken to Hamad Hospital and received six stitches to close a gash on her skull, as well as treatment for a broken wrist.

Numerous scars, abrasions, and scabs were visible on the woman’s back, arms, shoulders, stomach, and face. They are the result, she said, of nearly two years’ of abuse at the hands of her employer.

“Initially he just slapped or reprimanded me. It wasn’t bad,” the woman told Doha News. “But then it started getting worse … He says I annoy him because I’m slow, so he does it. The children have told him that I hit them – but I don’t – and so he hits me.”

Local support

Reached on Monday, Yusuf Suryanegara – a consular official at the Indonesian embassy – said he and his colleagues are “working on” the case but said he didn’t want to discuss it with a journalist.

The embassy did say the police were involved following the assault, but it’s unclear if an official investigation is underway.

As of Saturday night – some three days after being admitted – the woman said she had not been interviewed by police officers or visited by representatives of any social services agency.

Donated items
Donated items

Meanwhile, there has been an outpouring of support from local residents who read about the woman’s story on a popular local Facebook group.

After learning of the case over the weekend, community members donated more than QR2,600 in cash as well as clothes, shoes and toiletries to help the woman, according to organizers of the charitable effort.

However, some supporters said they prevented from visiting the woman over the weekend after hospital officials abruptly moved her to a different room last night and banned all visitors.

An HMC spokesperson was unable today to comment on the hospital’s visitation policies or say what services it provides when patients say they have been abused.

“The patient was under our care for several days and has now been discharged. As the matter is currently under police investigation, we are unable to comment further,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

A leading human rights organization has previously noted that complaints of abuse by domestic workers rarely result in criminal convictions.

Working conditions

Last year, Amnesty International released a comprehensive report on domestic workers in Qatar that documented the vulnerability of migrant maids, nannies, cooks and cleaners in the country at the hands of their Qatari and expat sponsors.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Domestic workers are not covered under Qatar’s labor law, which means there are no limits on the hours that they can be forced to work. A separate UN report found that domestic workers in Qatar work some of the longest hours in the world.

In this particular case, the woman said her day started at 5am and ran 19 hours as she cooked, cleaned, dusted, and waited on the Qatari family until midnight with only a one-hour midday break.

According to Amnesty, being excluded from Qatar’s labor law also means that domestic workers cannot lodge claims against their employers in Labor Court over issues such as their accommodation.

The woman said she spent her nights sleeping on a makeshift bed on the floor of the family’s living room and allowed only two meals a day, consisting mostly of instant noodles or rice.

She added that she hadn’t been paid her QR750 monthly salary in more than seven months. Even before that, she said her pay was withheld by a senior family member.

“So I’ve never kept my salary with me or used it,” she said.

Status quo

Because domestic workers work in their sponsor’s homes, out of view from the public, victims of abuse often face challenges trying to speak to outsiders, either to seek assistance or simply explain their experiences, Amnesty officials have previously said.

However, the Qatar government has to be well aware of the most egregious incidents of abuse that result in victims being hospitalized, Amnesty researcher Mustafa Qadri told Doha News.

“Qatar is a wealthy country and this (problem of abuse) is well known,” he said. “But we don’t see the will to change the situation or, when (abuse) does take place, help the women.”

To better protect domestic workers, Amnesty has urged Qatar to include them under the labor law; reform the kafala sponsorship system that can prevent expats from switching jobs or leaving the country; and make it easier to report cases of abuse, among other measures.

Lower criminal court in Doha
Lower criminal court in Doha

One important step would be equipping authorities with the proper tools to investigate complaints of domestic violence.

This is something that the government has promised for several years, but that recent cases suggest remain a weakness within the healthcare and criminal justice system.

For example, Qadri suggested that a victim should be able to speak to a specially trained investigator who is sensitive to the trauma that the individual has experienced.

Additionally, Amnesty said the Qatar government should decriminalize “absconding” laws that result in the criminal prosecution and deportation of some women who flee abusive sponsors.

At this point, however, the Indonesian woman said leaving would be more preferable than remaining in Qatar.

When asked what she would like to happen next, she said, “Go home.”

Thoughts?

166 COMMENTS

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irobot
irobot
6 years ago

The community will await for justice to be served, while the authorities concerened will strive for yet another cover up. The victim will be hushed up and the accused will walk away with a slap on the wrist.. Yet another example of the appauling plight of domestic workers here and all of middle east

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  irobot

Keep waiting.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago

What a horrible story. The community should be outraged, and citizens demand authorities investigate and bring the man to justice. But thinking about it, what justice? Domestic abuse isn’t a crime, perhaps he will get a slap on the wrist for not paying her, while her wrist is broken. I’m glad this story came out, I think many do not.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Yeah very true, domestic abuse is not a crime and done behind closed doors but if and when the maid or maids decide to retaliate then it might be a whole new matter which might have very bad cosequences

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

The community should be outraged but they’re too busy lining their pockets. It’s not as if this kind of story is surprising any more.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

This is one of many similar yet untold stories. What will be shocking is if any one of the four arabic local papers will report on this story

Ali Elali
Ali Elali
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Same board members ( 90% ) if not closely related !!! this is why all the news printed on the four local papers are almost identical !!!
its true that this is one of the untold stories

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali Elali

60% of the news in the four newspapers is press releases. The rest is international stories 🙂

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Even if they did they will say it was a rumor after 3 weeks as they did with the cannibal few years ago. Doha news is the only legit news source in Qatar!

woah
woah
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

cannibal in qatar?

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  woah

Yup look up Cannibal in Qatar July 2007. 4 Vietnamese guys were reported of eating a Nepalese guy, which later on was said to be a rumor.

Talal Mousa
Talal Mousa
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

The problem is with the mentality in Qatar which states the following: ” We are in no way accountable to anything we do” and I believe that is the crime of the century!

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Horrible. No words. Hope she recover soon and get immediate justice. What kind of animals are they who hit this poor lady.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

Exactly. The authorities are to blame for their inaction or looking the other way while this abuses and brutalities have been going on and on all this years. I hope the authorities are aware by allowing such abuses and evil things to go on they are just adding to the negative publicity that they have been getting all along. What man would treat, beat and brutalize a poor and helpless woman worker in such a cruel manner. What is her country,s embassy doing about this brutality and are the other embassies taking note of this abuses

David Kinyua
David Kinyua
6 years ago

Its really heartening to treat other human beings in that way.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

“What kind of animals”? This breed is called “Sponsor”.

Talal Mousa
Talal Mousa
6 years ago

to be more precise “Kafala system” lol

brorick
brorick
6 years ago

ah dont group them all into one, first theres the non nationals who have maids. and then theres the many who do and treat them with respect.
the people who i know kicked one of the Qatari people out of the majless because he threatened to hit the helper (a male) and didn’t apologize.

Om Amr
Om Amr
6 years ago

So sorry to hear that. Not all sponsors are merciless like this. I have an Indonesian maid who has been with us for about 6 years. She starts her working day at 6:00 a.m. and ends it by 15:00 p.m. maximum. The rest of the day, she is either watching Indonesian movies on her Ipad, talking to her sister in Indonesia over Viber or reading Quran. Not only that, but she is the one to design her daily schedule so that the load is distributed over days on the week.

I hope that sponsors think that they are dealing with GOD when they are dealing with other human beings especially maids.

But it takes two for a relation to success, some maids are really pain in the neck and they mistreat children or make magical spell on the house, and these should be sent away instantly, but good ones should be treated respectfully.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

” make magical spell on the house, and these should be sent away instantly, but good ones should be treated respectfully.” What the ….?

Sara
Sara
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

Some maids steal, hurt children and perform satanic rituals in the household, those should be sent away. But the good ones get to stay and be treated respectfully. That’s all she meant, English isn’t everyone’s first language Coco.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago
Reply to  Sara

It’s not my first language either, it’s actually my 3rd or 4th…but believing in spells is so not related to language skills. Could you please define a satanic ritual? Most of these maids hail from african countries…their ways are different but that doesn’t mean they’re the antichrist…I mean, it is 2015 after all. I say it again: What the…?

Om Amr
Om Amr
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

From all the comment, this was the only thing that drew your attention?!!! And why is it very strange?

Some maids are really good ones and they know exactly their responsibilities and work hard to earn their living, and these poor maids, I truly respect because they take their work seriously, but those who come to the Gulf wanting to take money while they are hardly working, or beating children, or stealing houses, these should be sent home instantly, but in all situations violence is not acceptable. Hope it is clear enough!!!

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

Epic

Moleskine
Moleskine
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

Damn, you were doing so well up until the ‘magical’ nonsense…you do know that magic isn’t real, right?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Moleskine

What is real?

eh
eh
6 years ago
Reply to  Moleskine

Some maids have been known to delve in some satanic rituals inside people’s homes. That’s what she’s on about, and those should get fired.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Moleskine

Deleting the rest of this magic thread, since it’s off topic.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Shabina goes on a Magical Mistery Tour 🙂

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

But you’re keeping the one claiming maids have the power to cast evil “magic spells”? Are you kidding?!

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

I had a tear in my eye reading the article and my husband asked me what was wrong, so I told him about this poor woman. Then I read your comment and burst out laughing. He then looked at me again and I told him what you had said. Quite possibly one of the daftest comments I’ve ever read.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

So you’re hoping to embarrass or humiliate someone because you don’t believe what they believe?

RescueMe
RescueMe
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Sorry to burst your bubbles but magic, spells, satanic rituals and Harry Potter do not, never have and never will work by any nationality, anywhere in the world. People who believe in such things are uneducated.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  RescueMe

Black magic, voodoo, curses, spirits and exorcisms are beliefs, just like all religions are beliefs. So by your logic anyone following a religion is uneducated then?

RescueMe
RescueMe
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Sorry Misha? so your saying black magic, voodoo, curses, spirits and exorcisms go hand in hand with religion????? Here lies the problem.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  RescueMe

No, i am saying does religion have more “evidence” than the things mentioned above? Both stem from the belief system of people.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  RescueMe

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the concept of reality is constructed and subjective, and thus what’s real to you and to our friend who is commenting here, is not the same reality experienced by everyone, language is a further subjective barrier to a singular reality. That’s the science, and that’s the philosophy. It’s not open season to criticise someone’s beliefs beause they seem far fetched.

eh
eh
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

By magic she means satanic rituals “waveydavey” and it’s a legit thing.

KK
KK
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

I like your last sentence. ever thought that some masters might be a pain in the neck as well?

DY
DY
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

May God gives you some brain… Seems you don’t have at all

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  DY

and perhaps you some manners?

Teri Coley Adams
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

“magical spells”? Yep, sounds like you’ve got all your cheese on your cracker, sweetheart.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

You sound kind of fair….I think, but I seriously worry that you think your maid is capable of putting ‘bad spells’ on the house……..seriously, grow up, how old are you? Leave your childish belief in magic behind and try joining some of the rest of humanity who have decided that magic is what it is, an illusion, a trick of the brain, and join the 21st century.

NSK
NSK
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

wait a minute, did I just read “magical spell on the house”????!?!?!?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Any news on whether the alleged abuser was question or arrested by the police? The physical injuries are pretty much hard to fake

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If it was a camel he might have been arrested but she’s just a maid. Go figure!

Talal Mousa
Talal Mousa
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

dude since the attacker is Qatari the justice system will not hold him liable as usual

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

This week in Khaleej times, I read about arrest n jail time for Emiratis held for rape, Impersonation as CID, etc.

Bianca
Bianca
6 years ago

Great Article Chantelle!

Jack smith
Jack smith
6 years ago

The real deep down issue is the deep seated idea that gulf Arabs and Qataris have that these people are here to serve them and that is their ultimate purpose. it is this mentality that needs to change. In order to that there actually needs to be more done amongst the population to actually see these people as human beings in and not just bodies made to serve. All in all it reminds me of recent slavery in the USA.

I also think that people underestimate just how deep these ideas go in the psyche of the Qataris and Gulf Arabs who think this way. One problem is that these people just appear! There is no realization of where they come from, that they have families, that they are daughters, sons, mothers, fathers etc. and most are so humble and honest they don’t dare speak up.

It is up to both the Qatari government as well as the foreign governments from where these workers come from as well as the international community to launch campaigns to ensure that this sympathy and mercy is nurtured amongst the local population and to take a hard line against this. But this will never happen due to the following:

1) the local government and its members are the very people who think this way. At least amongst a majority. It would be like going to the government of a Southern State in the U.S. in the 1800s and asking the leaders to start a campaign to create sympathy and love between the slave masters and their slaves. Not going to happen

2) the foreign governments are a bunch of cowards that don’t speak up as most of their leaders are so corrupt it’s easy for the gulf states to pay them off with either direct bribes or economic considerations such as oil. India alone could stop these shenanigans over night by simply demanding better treatment and pay or threatening to call home all their citizens, it would lead to the entire shut down of the GCC and its economy. But Indian politicians are just as happy to abuse the Indian population to make a quick buck as many Gulf Arab locals are.

3) the rest of the international community, namely Europe and the West basically turn a blind eye as the oil and other financial considerations are just too important. Of course certain “groups” like Amnesty make a noise but those are just there to keep the western masses feeling good and to lead them to a sense of false security while their money hungry leaders continue to line their pockets. It’s basically the same thing that’s been happening since the Portgugese sailed around the cape of Good Hope 600 years ago and discovered they could bully people and become rich at the same time.

I guess this is really all just one more fall out from the current state of the world we live in and that the ultimate solution, and one that is long term is to uproot the very system that allows this to go on. But that will take massive effort, and people would have to sacrifice a great amount, including their safe and secure lives. They would have to give up their iPads, TVs, ACs etc. and tough it out in order to seriously change things. But then how many would actually do that and how many would just sit on their PCs and type into the comments section of a news website huffing and puffing while things just carry on the same way.

GCC
GCC
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack smith

I stopped reading the moment you generalized 30 million people.

Jack Smith
Jack Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  GCC

Yeah I know what your saying but unfortunately the numbers are just too high for me not to generalize. I’m not saying that all Gulf Arabs are like this but the numbers are just way too high not to see a bigger problem. I’m not saying that the majority are violent, but the mentality of master servant is massive, absolutely massive, even if the servant is being treated properly there is still always a mental barrier, an idea that NEVER goes no matter what. It’s that barrier that leads to low wages, bad accomidation, a lack of care from people and the situation that persists today. The fact that you think that having people just go on and on getting paid low salaries while higher incomes go up and up is ok is itself a major problem, and most don’t care. They have salaries in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of riyals and just throw a few thousand if even that to the people who are actually doing the serious labour and with whom without there would be no Doha, no Dubai etc. there is no thanks, no appreciation, just shouting, getting pissed off, and believing that this is what they deserve, it’s just that neither you nor most of the Gulf Arabs, or for that matter most of the people from the third world countries that are the labourers or even the managers know any different. The mind set is too closed. How about the idea that one day a a labourers could become a rich man and hire a Qatari to work for him as his employee? What would the MAJORITY think of that. No doubt they would burst out laughing, mocking the idea etc. this is exactly what I am talking about it is the ultimate idea that we are superior, they are inferior. Don’t dare tell me that I am generalizing I have lived in the Middle East for 26 years and it’s exactly your deaf, dumb and blind attitude toward any information that hurts your ego that will be your ultimate downfall, your lack of humility and pride that everything is alright your lack of being able to handle even the slightest bit of criticism and your ultimately closed view of the world and how it works. Sure others make mistakes, sure people are not perfect, but when you refuse to listen and just go on in your contumacy then there will never be change and finally you will be shamed. The sad part is that the Middle East is already being punished for this very attitude of we know it all, just look at the average Arab, not just the Gulf Arab but every Arab, even while their countries are being destroyed beyond recognition their heads (pride) keep going even higher rather than finally realizing it’s time they humbled themselves and stopped believing the crap their leaders feed them.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack smith

So what does an expat in Qatar do to make a difference? I have no voice in the government (neither do the citizens though), it’s not my country. How can I make a change for the positive? I already complain on an English news site (under an alias of course), and that’s not getting anything tangible done. But what else can I do besides giving the guy at the petrol station a smile and a healthy tip after he just got honked and screamed at by the Gulf Arab in the LC in front of me? If there’s something more I can do, please someone tell me. It seems like a hopeless situation to an outsider.

It’s really sad when the victim actually says verbal abuse and getting smacked around isn’t that bad. And what will happen to this monster slave master? I doubt his name will be published. The story will probably just fade away like the Qatari idiot driver that killed the Filipino family with his SUV near the airport last year….

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

As as Western, you can buy lots of beer and hook up with his sister. I mean just be yourself like a typical Western in the Gulf running around Asian women.

greg
greg
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Racist!

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Your words are very confusing and you make a lot of reckless assumptions. Who’s sister do you think I should be hooking up with? And I’ve never seen one “Western” running laps around an Asian woman (or group of them for that matter). That would get tiring and serve no purpose. And what makes you think I’m also a “Western?” You sound a bit jealous.

I asked an honest question and expressed some frustration based on facts and personal experiences. Isn’t that what a comment board is for? Apparently your nonsense reply slipped past Shabina’s filter the first time around……

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

How much of a difference have you made back home where you, presumably, do have a voice in the government?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Back home there is no wasta, so the cops, prosecution and the courts do what they have to do, housemaid or not. If I am of the opinion that any of the above are not doing the job I can write to, or go see my MP. When was the last time you’ve alerted your MP, Abdulrahman?

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

What is better knowing you don’t have a voice or thinking you have a voice when you actually don’t?
Have you experienced your MP making a difference from your letter when it challenges the political agenda of his party or financial supporters?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

What is better, the electric chair or a lethal injection?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Where’s back home? Utopia? Oh right, Lala land?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

There are no MPs in LA.

Reem
Reem
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Whataboutery shows you do not and cannot deal with truth. What goes on “back home” is irrelevant. We are here. This is where our lives are.

And the point is the family inflicting abuses onto this woman (setting examples for their children) will face no consequences. It is how it works here in 2015. That this is so, reflects the sad fact that non-Qatari lives (especially those from poor countries working in labor and as domestics) have little human value. You know that in your heart.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Reem

Let me guess, you saw someone else use that term “Whataboutery” and so you chose to use it? No original thought whatsoever.

As for this “non-Qatari lives have little human value”, I really cannot help but wonder why would you, and others, continue to live here if you really believe so? Unless of course it is no better back home.

Go back and read my comment, I simply asked the person who said he felt helpless becasue he’s an expat, if he or she would do things differently back home. It’s a fair question, but leave it to the likes of you to twist my words to add to your self pity fund.

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

‘Whataboutery’ at its finest.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Your question is valid really for everyone to ask themselves, but to use it in this setting is kind of immature.

But to answer it….. Yes, a lot of good goes on back home. The national government is unfortunately not where much happens. But elections and petitions hold a lot of water in local governments and give the individual quite a voice in local politics. Also, non-profits and charities are required by law to disclose how funds are used, so one has knowledge of where donations go. There are a myriad of civic groups and volunteer opportunities to get involved with. And if you’re so inclined, peaceful demonstrations in public areas don’t have to be signed off by the government.

So yes, in my country I was able to, and did, make a lot of difference when I lived there. So tell me, how do I do it in Qatar?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

I’m sorry you feel this way, but I simply asked because I often
wondered when people talked about feeling “helpless” about solving problems they see here, if things were different back home.

I am by no means trying to make light of this horrible case, or imply that we should accept this as the way things are.

Once, in one the Lonely Planet books, one of the writers
commented that many people, when they move to other countries seem to suddenly to develop a higher calling and believe as if being in these other societies they need to do more than they did back home.

vforvendetta
vforvendetta
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

you seem like a kind man. Keep being awsome

facty
facty
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack smith

Good analysis Buy misses some points. Indians form a small percentage of the housemaids in Qatar. The Indian housemaids nowadays are brought by Indian families themselves. Qataris and other Arab nationalities prefer housemaids from Indonesia or Philippines.
Secondly, you ask the Indian govt to pull out its citizens from the GCC nations. Pulling out will only affect the GCC for a very short period. As soon as the Indians leave, other nationalities will rush to fill the gaps. Take Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, libya, egypt, ethiopia, nigeria etc. There are many waiting in the wings just to get in here. Moreover the people who return back to India will start blaming the govt incase they fail to find jobs there. Just look at Yemen, there are Indians whi stayed back there inspite of the situation and refused to board the planes sent to evacuate them. Their grouse- there are no jobs in India and they have paid large sums to recruitment agencies some mortaging the land and gold (only possessions) they had. If people cab risk living in war zones, they would tolerate the conditions they get here in Qatar.
Lastly, the awareness you talk about is a good step. It requires better education and imbibing these values through it. The younger generation that is educated needs to come forward and change perceptions. But from what I see, it doesnt seem very promising.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  facty

Not surprising though when it was only in the 1970s that the sponsorship system replaced formalized slavery here.

Irony
Irony
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Yup, right after the independence from the Britain.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Irony

Slavery was ended before independence from the UK!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Not if you consider indentured labor slavery.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

So, you’re saying that when Qatar ended slavery, before becoming independent from the UK, the British introduced “indentured labor”?

Makes sense, since “Indentured servitude” was widely employed in the British colonies in North America 🙂
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servant

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I’d say that although the British were in charge when old school laws allowing for outright slavery were taken off the books they tolerated an ongoing system of servitude. When Qatar became a sovereign state in 1971 this still existed and over time became the system in place today where people can not leave their employer without the employer allowing it. That makes 40+ years of independence where the system does not appear to have changed significantly for the better – at least as evidenced by the article above.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

How about I extended an olive branch here and show you that I have no dislike to the British or blame them for these issues. Here are two facts that I know:

1) Slavery in the GCC ended at different time in different countries, Oman was the last if I’m not mistaken. While it offcially ended in Qatar in 1952, many or some still were slaves until 1965. From what I know, the push for the ending of slavery came from the British, and the oil wealth allowed it. The odd thing though is that Oman was both the last GCC, despite the fact the British had the strongest influence there among the Gulf states.

2) The kaffala system most likely came about as a way to ensure that all the people who entered the country to work, especially the unskilled laborers, had someone local to represent their interest and speak on their behalf, as well as a way to control the movement of people in and out of the country. I know for a fact that back in the 50s and to the 70s, when poor people from Iran and elsewhere would come on boats seeking job opportunities, respectable Qataris, most notably members of the ruling family would give them a piece of paper indicting that they are their sponsor, and that means they are under the sponsor’s protection. How that system morphed into the one we have today that allow of such horrible abuse to go unpunished I don’t know.

Reem
Reem
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

It was not in reality, and you know that. Heck, Oman officially enforced the ending of Slavery in the early 1970s. Laws are still not enforced here, so please do not promote the myth that Slavery ended on this a Peninsula before independence from the UK. Btw, wasn’t independence granted in the 1960s or 50s? Is it really independent? I hope and wish so .

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Reem

lol You don’t even know when Qatar officially became independent from the U.K., nor do you know the difference between when slavery ended in Qatar and Oman, and YET you presume to lecture me on this matter?!

What is most outstanding is the fact that most of this information is easily searchable online, so please, do yourself a favor an look up things before commenting on them.

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Irony

the UK

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

“the sponsorship system replaced formalized slavery ” Your ignorance never misses!

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Whatever, please spare me the “the sponsorship system is there to protect the expat workers” nonsense

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Leave then.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Don’t have to, my wasta is as good as ever.

Duh
Duh
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

No, thats what the law is there for.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Duh

I rather have wasta

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Deleting the rest of this thread for going off topic and devolving into personal attacks.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Never said it’s there to protect them, so please, spare me your mindless rant 😉

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

You’re absolutely right – the sponsorship system has a long way to go before it replaces formalised slavery in Qatar.

Kafala to be reformed for one month in 2022, and that’s your lot, you ingrates.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

OK – I suppose it depends on what your definitions are but by most modern standards if you don’t have the legal right to choose to leave your employer you are a slave. If you want to look at old school definitions Qatar (1952) was around the middle of the GCC countries for taking it off the books.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Actually I’m referring to your claim that the sponsorship system came about to replace slavery. Correlation doesn’t equal causation; not to mention that slavery’s ending didn’t even occur at the same time as the “kaffala” system started.

Are you actually saying that all those highly educated expats who come to work here, and stay for many years too, are willingly giving up their freedom and becoming slaves? Something to think about.

I’m by no means defending the sponsorship system, especially the part about not being able to switch employers unless the current one agrees to it.

One last thing; have you looked at other sponsorship or work visa systems before making your comment about “most modern” standards? Please read this: H-1B holders who want to continue to work in the US after six years, but who have not obtained permanent residency status, must remain outside of the US for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any period in the job the visa was originally issued for. This is known as H-1B portability or transfer, provided the new employer sponsors another H-1B visa, which may or may not be subjected to the quota. Under current law, H-1B visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I’m not saying it came about “to” replace formalized slavery. I’m saying it did replace formalized slavery. In my view, and the view of many others, there is very little difference between the two. One allows legal complete ownership of a person. One allows ownership of their right to work. With regards to the highly educated expats I think you’ll find they’re very selective about who they’ll work for before they sign a contract and usually have a multi-exit visa should thing turn out other than they expected. With regards to the US system I’m not a big fan of that either but there are some big differences is that the US is a nation of immigration. Qatar is not. Also if you want to leave the US you’re not at the whim of your employer.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  facty

India doesn’t send housemaids to Qatar from a long time now, as far as I’m aware. I guess he wants Indians in other sectors to be pulled out?

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack smith

What kind of system are you advocating if you believe that the Indian government should ” threatening to call home all their citizens” . Surely your home country shouldn’t interfere in where their citizens choose to work? Apart from that, I agree with your post.

angry bird
angry bird
6 years ago

What a shame problem is the sponsor will walk free. It’s not just this story that saddens me, lots of people hire househelp here and middle east in general and never give them a day off. Shame on them all, some have reasons like where will they go?, oohhh what is if she absconds?, what if she does something wrong and gets arrested? , the list of excuses is endless. They are humanbeings just like you and I believe you have a day off so what makes people to decide no off days for househelp.

Om Amr
Om Amr
6 years ago
Reply to  angry bird

I once allowed my maid to meet her friend in a Philipino restaurant, my husband had to sit on a table in the same restaurant to keep an eye lest someone annoys them, which was about to happen from the first moment they stepped in!! The problem it is really not safe!

A friend of mine left her maid to go shopping in Carrefour alone to buy Christmas gifts fot her son; the maid came back from the supermarket with 2 papers with mobile numbers from males asking her to call back!! If she had no morals, what would be the case?!

And one other maid, deceived her sponsor and used to meet her boy friend in the play area while she was supposed to be taking care of small children, the catastrophe is she was married in her home country, but why not have a boy friend?!

I am not against giving a day off but it should be a supervised day off, buy I am awfully sorry I cannot leave my maid to go out with total stangers for 5 or 6 hours not knowing what she is doing or to whom she is talking to!

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

You’re her employer , you do not own her and she is not your property . It’s your warperd view of society that gives us the contents of the said case.
You are the prime example of most cases here , you’d be in jail in a civilised county .

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

This attitude is ingrained in the GCC and in traditionally feudal/class based societies like India. Hence the exit permit.

Expat
Expat
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

If you can’t treat your housekeeper as an employer and insist on treating her like your property then don’t hire one!

You are right, it is a big risk having a complete stranger around the house especially if there are toddlers. It also risky to let them wander off and God knows what kind of other strangers or disease they will bring back to your home. That is why hiring a resident housekeeper for my home would be over my dead body!

A housekeeper coming twice a week for a few hours is enough!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

Yes why should your maid have a life, she is there to work for you, no fun, no enjoyment. That is a pretty sick way to treat another human being. That is a slave owning mentality.
Who superivses you on your day off? What do you get up to? Have you been to Thailand without your wife?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

What he said…^^^^^^

dubious
dubious
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

So you treat your maid like a criminal suspect under surveillance when she is out meeting friends? Men approaching her is her problem is it? If she went shopping, and men proposition her, that is also her fault too is it? Isn’t that a problem with the men and the chauvinistic environment here, rather than your maid?

Anyway, if she chose to take up the offer, or finds a lover, what business of yours is it? You’re imposing your morals on someone else and you need to realise that your world view isn’t the only world view. Perhaps they have an open marriage, or perhaps they live a polyamourous lifestyle and it has all been discussed and agreed with all partners? Perhaps it was a relative? Perhaps it was simply a friend, someone to get a bit of adult conversation with after spending all day with her employer’s children? Strange as it may seem, men and women can be just friends…

Presumably she was working for Khalijis with their typical 19 hour day 7 days a week type hours and didn’t get any personal time to meet friends so chose to meet some place where she could and also could keep an eye on kids playing.

It is difficult though, as the sponsor you are ultimately responsible for them, but gross curtailing of their human rights can’t be the answer. This is partly why the sponsorship process is likened to legalised slavery and why it needs change.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

You “allowed” her to meet her friend! You don’t deserve to have to have a maid if that’s how you think.

Reem
Reem
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

“I once allowed my maid to meet her friend ….” Do you see the attitude here. The young woman who works for your family is controlled by you, even on her free time. That is the mindset of a slave holder over a possession.

Every woman on the planet is approached and often hassled by men. Not only Pilipino maids. They are grown women and can deal with it. We do everyday. And if you do not like or agree with her choices (or morals) and it disturbs you, you may let her go. Just as she should be free to go if your lifestyle is disturbing to her. (Do you want her monitoring you to make sure you are the right employer for her?)

This is called respect and tolerance. She is not your possession to monitor and control, but an employee in your home. Such employees deserve the very most respect. Is this an idea you can imagine?

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

You don’t own her. You pay to have her contribute her labour to the running of your home. Her time off is her own time- you do not own that either. Completely inappropriate to have your husband spy on her. As for saying you are not against a day off- I am amazed at the arrogance of that remark. I assume you, if you work , have a day off , probably two, certainly your husband does if he works. As for maids meeting men on their day off- it’s their choice, they are adults, they know the laws regarding relations outside marriage, it is their responsibility. Believe me, maids too fall in love and get married, or do you want the final say on that too?

NSK
NSK
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

I don’t know why you feel that her personal affairs are any of your concern, at work do you want your boss to be involved interfering in your personal affairs?

She is not your property, she is your employee and that is how the relationship should be framed

Coco
Coco
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

I gotta ask, are you trolling? I mean, it takes a brave or oblivious person to constantly empty a full chamber in his/her own foot. Voodoo and magic rituals aside, how many unsupervised hours would you consider are appropriate for your maid? I’m dead curious now.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
6 years ago
Reply to  Om Amr

Om Amr, although it is incredibly kind of you to consider and allow your slave 5-6 hours off once a week, surely there is a huge risk in your husband being away from you for such a long period of time, leaving you alone, what if someone annoyed you? Who is home to make sure your morals are being looked after? Its far too risky to leave yourself alone for 5- 6 hours because, as you say, the problem is it is really not safe.
Your husband leaves you alone for 5-6 hours to supervise the social interaction of your slave, how does he know what you are doing or to whom you are talking to?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Where can I donate some things @dohanews???

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

I recommend you donate money instead of things

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I’ll donate whatever I want thanks.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

He is right. Keep your towels, clothes and shoes with you. She has enough of that now. She might end up throwing most of them before she goes home as I doubt it she will be able to take all that stuff with her.
Give her money or pray for her and that’s it.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

And what are you donating? If you don’t mind, I’ll give exactly what I want. I don’t need help or advice for you or anyone else on what to give her. I am perfectly capable of making decisions for myself. And how do you know I wasn’t intending on giving her money. Mind your own business. Now, if someone would be good enough to tell me HOW I can donate to is lady I would be incredibly grateful, instead of people telling me how to suck eggs,

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

“I’ll give exactly what I want…I am perfectly capable of making decisions for myself.”

Nice, make this about yourself and not the victim you supposedly want to donate to. I don’t think you understand charity.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  jalong

And what makes you the charity expert, if I may ask?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

The academic literature pretty clearly says money is far more use. Knowing that you decide.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

The experience says so, but unfortunately some people prefer to donate stuff they do not use, because they see the needy as their garbage bin. Throw to them whatever you do not like/need

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I admit, I haven’t familiarized myself enough with the academic literature on the subject, but let me share some first hand observations that contradict the academics. Our housemaid was packing her stuff, leaving for good. She needed some help with packing, so I went to her room and looked at the stuff she wanted to pack. I noticed that over time she had taken out of the garbage, washed and kept lots of stuff (clothes, toys, small appliances, you name it) that, frankly, we thought were too old, broken, dirty or useless to be donated. I was confused, because I felt that giving her “junk” might have been disrespectful, yet she obviously wanted it. We packed it all and shipped it to her country at a minimal cost (yes, I paid for it, thank you very much). What does the literature say about that?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

She was most probably paid peanuts by you, therefore those dirty clothes were something of a high value for her.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

She was always paid as per the contract and on time. There have been no deductions whatsoever from her salary (you are probably aware than some housemaids have deductions taken for every glass they accidentally break), we gave her lots of stuff, as well as cash for Easter, Christmas, birthdays, or if we threw a big party and there was lots of work the next morning. She had Fridays off to go out unsupervised and could do whatever she felt like, and in the afternoons she was free to go out within the compound, as there wasn’t much work at home anyway. All this could still amount to “peanuts” to you, but that’s what the deal was. And, BTW, five or six family members depended on her in her home country.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Did you give her her passport?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Yes, when she traveled.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Enough said.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

What’s your point?

Susan
Susan
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

The point is that holding other people’s passports is illegal. The fact that so many employers here do it doesn’t make it okay or ‘less’ illegal.

https://dohanews.co/opinion-illegal-passport-confiscation-qatar/

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

You don’t know what you are talking about. A live-in housemaid is not just an employee as she is completely alone in a hostile foreign environment, needing care and protection. She wanted to be, and has always been treated as, a member of the family. For example, when I paid her her salary, she would keep a minimal amount and would ask me to wire the remaining cash to her family, which I have always promptly done. Applying your twisted logic, one could say that I have enslaved not only the housemaid, but also the entire family, because I kept all passports locked in a safe, and whoever travelled got his/her passport out.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

You really don’t get it do you?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

So she had only Friday afternoon as her only time off? And she was allowed to wander within the compound in the afternoon? How generous of you!! I think you have just confirmed my point.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Read before you write. She had ALL day Friday off, outside the compound, plus ALL afternoons Saturday to Thursday off, on the compound. If she wanted to go out on a weekday afternoon I would have let her do so, but she was not interested in paying for a taxi. So, what is your point again?

Coco
Coco
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Sometimes when you feel the urge to “show the proper way” it’s best to resist it.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  jalong

Why would I give somebody something that I don’t want to give? Something that I didn’t think is suitable? Giving something that I want to give, is something that I believe the victim would be happy with. Something that I hope will make her smile. Try to do something nice to help some people and nasty people like you turn into something else. It’s because of opinions like yours that humanity is in the state it’s in. Knocking someone for helping someone else, regardless of hoow big or small their contribution is, is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

I could not have said it better. The same applies to Susan’s and Yacine’s comments.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Thank you. Ask how I go about donating something and people think they can dictate what and then have the Cheek to say hat my intentions aren’t right. Sad that people have to think like that.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

I was recommending .. But if you want to give your old towels and clothes to make you feel better than go ahead

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

Hi, this is a good question. I think the best way to extend an offer to help would be to call the Indonesian embassy and ask them what she needs.