19.2 C
Doha
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Stop sending female domestic workers abroad, Indonesian president says

-

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

To preserve women’s “pride and dignity,” Indonesia’s president has called for a ban on sending its citizens to work as domestic helpers in foreign countries. If implemented, the measure could have significant implications for thousands of female expats working in Qatar.

On Friday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said his country needs to stop allowing its women to works as nannies and maids abroad.

“I have given Manpower Minister a target to come up with a clear roadmap on when we can stop sending female domestic workers. We should have pride and dignity,” Widodo said, according to a report in the Straits Times.

It is not yet clear how any such measures would affect women who are already working overseas. No additional details such as a timeline were included in the report, which noted that Indonesian politicians have called for similar measures in the past.

Indonesian embassy in Doha officials were not immediately available for comment.

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

But an employee who answered the phone at Indonesia’s Manpower Ministry in Jakarta told Doha News that he was familiar with the president’s announcement. However, he had not been officially informed of any upcoming policy changes by his supervisor.

There are some 20,000 Indonesians working in Qatar as domestic workers, Amnesty International said last year, citing 2010 census data.

The Indonesian government’s proposal comes more than a month after Gulf states apparently abandoned efforts to adopt a GCC-wide common contract for domestic workers.

Many human rights advocates had hoped that the unified employment standards would curb the exploitation of woman working as maids, nannies and cooks in homes across the Gulf.

Qatar treatment

In recent years, Qatar’s relationship with Indonesia has been rocky.

The country temporarily banned its citizens from coming to Qatar as domestic workers in 2013, saying it could not afford to assist the three to five women who were seeking shelter at the embassy daily.

Abuse of domestic help is a big problem here, according to Amnesty. In a 2014 report titled, “My sleep is my break,” the rights gorup documented cases of psychological, physical and sometimes sexual abuse of domestic workers based in Qatar, at the hands of both local and expat sponsors.

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

Domestic workers are not covered by Qatar’s labor law, making them vulnerable to several abuses, including being forced to work excessive hours and being prohibited from leaving their sponsor’s residence unaccompanied. Many have complained about their passports being confiscated and said that they were not paid on time.

Those who try to flee abusive situations often find themselves arrested on charges of absconding and are held in detention centers.

Other countries have also considered banning their citizens from coming to Qatar and neighboring countries as domestic workers in response to allegations of abuse.

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

In 2011, Nepal lifted a ban on its nationals coming to Qatar as domestic workers provided they are employed by carefully vetted sponsors.

However, recent reports of young Nepalese women being trafficked through India to Dubai suggest that bans on certain categories of overseas workers aren’t always effective.

Indeed, Widodo’s comments prompted an angry response from an advocacy organization that helps Indonesian domestic workers.

“The solution to ending the vulnerability and plight of Indonesian migrant domestic workers is for the country to actively protect its workers, not to avoid the problem and limit any form of employment,” Anis Hidayah, the executive director of Migrant Care, told the Straits Times.

The Philippines has attempted to move in this direction by introducing a mandatory minimum wage for its nationals employed as overseas domestic workers.

But Qatar responded to the salary measures by placing an unofficial ban on the issuance of new visas to Filipina domestic workers.

In 2011, the Philippines debated instituting an outright ban on allowing women to work as domestic workers in Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE because of the three countries’ non-compliance with Philippines labor laws.

However, it does not appear that the ban was ever implemented.

Thoughts?

73 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
73 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Well good luck mr president finding alternative employment to the 150,000 plus Indonesian women in the gulf..

As much as people want to suger coat the abuse is very real.. And there aren’t real measures in place to tackle it… Just shinning press conferences…

One simple easy fix would be to improve the pay…

Also the biggest abuse is in Saudi where they are literally treated like slaves

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

150.000 more jobless in a country of 200 million is no big deal. That would not be even a 0.5% increase in the unemployment numbers 🙂

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Very true… Also assume on avg the ladies send home 850 riyals that’s like 400 million dollars a year

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Umm sorry to disappoint you but that’s like 35 Million dollars only

150 000 x 850 / 3.64 =35 million and some change, sorry to disappoint you……..

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

No worries not disappointed .. That’s the monthly not annual figure .. I said a year not a month

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Improving the pay wont kill the abuse. Putting people that do this in prison however will.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Abuse is a byword in the region. Good thing in Saudi is that with clear evidence in criminal acts even its nationals can get capital punishment under strict Sharia laws.

terracotta
terracotta
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Did you forget Hong Kong

Shabzed
Shabzed
6 years ago

Simple solution = Abolish Kafala System

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

Believe when I tell you that will not fix the problem… Abolishing will not equate to higher pay .. If anything it may cause pays to go down ..

It will make it much easier for an employer to fire and hire individuals … And for retail service industry jobs they’re will always be someone willing to do your job cheaper … Making an employer pick for a pool of all those in Qatar willing to work I don’t have to worry about airline tickets and relocations.. And the market will correct itself downwards espically when large business start to agree not to hire from each other and agree more or less on certain pay scales .. Like the major airlines in the gulf…

Abolish Kafala yes but set minimum wages too

Shabzed
Shabzed
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

When Kafala system is abolished, people will have the freedom to change jobs. Sponsor wont be able keep their employees unless they are paid and treated well. If the demand increases, and the supply remains the same, there will be a shortage. This will mean the price will increase. Simple economics.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

Except there will never be a shortage, taxi drivers demanding 2000 riyals will be replaced by a fresh patch of Indian drivers willing to put the same hours for 1,700… Retail workers making 2,000 will be replaced with Filipino ladies willing to do the job for 1,600 .. And as an employer if I discover you’ve switched three jobs in the past two years .. Well guess what I’m not hiring you..

And for the jobs which require low skill like at McDonald’s .. they’ll hurt the most and they are the ones which need they most help…

Don’t get me wrong I think we should go away with Kafala system.. But believe me it won’t solve the problems you think they will..

Ps what makes you think your new employer won’t ask to see you old pay slip or bank record as a condition to hiring you? And decide to only extend you an additional 5%? Or what if you employer decides to get rid of you cause an applicant walked into the door and said he’d be willing to do your job for 20% less ? He may not be as qualified but maybe the 20% less is enough justification

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Much depends on other markets, recruiting is such an awful nightmare to Qatar now that in my institution anything that can be done to keep staff is on the table for consideration – the loss rate is truly shocking! Paying an extra 1,000 a month, or no extra money but a two-day weekend, or, shockingly, seeing that people are actually employed in their field and enjoy what they do all day, is a whole lot more efficient financially and operationally than paying for a ‘new batch’, with all of the associated recruiting and training costs. Also, our clients won’t put up with it anymore – when there is staff turnover the clients get cranky at the lost time and production problems as people are trained up – when staff leave, particularly key staff, we get blamed and look bad. I understand what you say, but reputable employers fight to keep good people because they understand the importance of continuity.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I disagree. The traditional low-hanging fruit recruiting spots are gone and one has to go further and further afield for labor – with a corresponding decline in satisfaction with it, and an increase in recruitment and training costs. Much much better to hire folks who have already proven themselves capable of adapting to the Qatar system.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

Why do you think the system works without Kafala elsewhere? It doesn’t mean you can be fired and replaced with someone doing the same job for less, because employment laws protect the workers.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

If pays go down so will the quality of services. Qualified people will not work for peanuts, monkeys do. So that’s what you will get if you pay peanuts.

Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
6 years ago

I would not term them monkeys; they are impoverished, desperate people who like you hope to make the lives of their family better. Most of them have sold everything they had to the touts that bring them to Qatar. i hope we can see them as human beings.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago

I don’t believe that he was at all equating workers with monkeys. He was making a play on the saying “pay peanuts, you get monkeys’.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

No need to “explain”, Anonymouse. Those who get it, will get it, those who don’t, won’t.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

How is it that all the other countries around the world are able to hire qualified people to work without the burdens of Kafala and the high wages demanded of the labor?! Large businesses always collude to not hire the best and brightest between them, and naturally true labor demand would never have an impact to labor rates.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Well said

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

I’m puzzled by the language f the President. He refers to “sending females to to work as maids” “Sending” means they have no choice, someone just sent them. Surely they choose to come?

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

I have just a few words of caution to those who have hired domestic helper(s) and who are mistreating them … “Be very afraid because GOD IS WATCHING YOU !!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Oh pullleeease. Do you really think that anyone who is morally weak enough to abuse vulnerable domestic help is going to care about such tripe? I think that if they did, they perhaps wouldn’t be abusing people in the first place, ya know?

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

I don’t believe such people care and I agree with you that they have lost their moral compass but…no harm in dropping them a gentle reminder. Better something than nothing…no ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

If God is all powerful then why is he letting this abuse continue? Probably for the same reason he needs blasphemy laws.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You are confusing God’s gift to mankind to choose between right and wrong and mankind’s blasphemy laws. Is it a God created law or man made law ? I don’t think God needs protection.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

All laws are man made and apply to humans. The laws of god vary so much depending on which god it is – there are so many gods to choose from and an even larger number of ‘laws’. That is why man’s laws are always supreme.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

It’s so simple: abolish Kafala, pay a minimum wage and prosecute offenders, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, to the full extent of the law. These are the actions of a just society. What’s so difficult ?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

They’re mulling it over

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

After a short delay of 10 yrs…

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Transitioning from the current system to the one you are talking about has huge security, social, economic and demographic repercussions. If you add to that the local population’s resistance to change, you end up with a gigantic task

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

Other countries manage to treat people with dignity without the dire consequences you mention … What makes Qatar so special ?

Mohammed
Mohammed
6 years ago

The Arabs are of today are no different to the Arabs of the pre Islamic era. They have no mercy for mankind and treat Non Arabs as animals.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Mohammed

Deleting for stereotyping. Seriously?!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Alright, some consistency. You go!

Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
6 years ago

The comments below are varied whether the market forces (supply and demand) would solve this issue. IMHO, the only way it can change is when employers (individual, corporations, etc.) change their attitude towards labor. Treating them as human beings who like everyone seek to better the lives of their family. Until that mind set of treating labor like chattel prevails, NOTHING will change. And by the way, it is not just Qataris – I have seen members of the expat community treat their servants with utter disregard. I guess we as human beings are addicted to control. And to think that we have the gall to declare that we are the evolved species.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago

Good one, particularly the control bit. There lies the problem, so much control, not in government hands, given to random folks without training or screening = recipe for abuse.

Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Hi, thank you. You hit the nail on the head about control/power vested on individuals especially since they would be considered Nouvea Riche – who generally suffer the maladies of arrogance and highhandedness.

Wish Al Jazeera make a documentary on it. But, it will not. 🙂

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

When brainwashing and preparing “deltas” (Huxley reference) it’s best to promise them a better world/life only after this one ends. The fact that the score will be later settled will keep them motivated and allow them to endure incredible abuse. Constantly remind them that they’re sub-human and they will eventually believe it.

Raise your won kids or stop making them if you can’t. Clean your own house or get a smaller one if you can’t. This one is actually directed at “expats” not locals…from “expats” i have expectations higher than from a bunch of people that, as we can all agree, are still learning their way around.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Student scammed for QR 6,000 while ordering pizza online

0
With scam attacks on the rise, it's essential to protect yourself from fraudsters.  A Qatar University student who ordered a pizza worth QR 31 was...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.