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Sun 10 Jan 2010 08:28 AM

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330 Sri Lankan maids died in Mideast in 2009

Figures released as the latest abuse case against domestic helper reported in Saudi.

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) recorded 330 deaths of Sri Lankan maids in the Middle East in 2009.

The figure was revealed at the same time as the bureau called for a full inquiry into the death of a 26-year-old maid at the hands of her Saudi sponsor, in the latest abuse case to be reported in the kingdom.

The full facts of the case are not yet known, but a source told Arab News the maid's body was covered in burns and that her sponsor was in custody. The woman had previously written to her parents complaining of abuse, the paper said.

Of the 330 deaths the majority are not considered to be murder, the paper reported.

However, abuse of domestic helpers, including beatings and denial of pay, is widespread across the Middle East.

In September last year, Indonesia indefinitely suspended the traffic of domestic helpers to Kuwait due to concern over widespread abuse and exploitation by their employers.

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh told the paper the country’s mission in Saudi Arabia receives about 10 runaway maids a day.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Vincent 10 years ago

And we have people complaining of discrimination because burqas are banned in France?????? How does one justify the ill treatment and death of people whose only purpose in existing in their current jobs is to full time assist the same people who abuse them?

Sunny 10 years ago

330 died in 2009?!!!! Almost 1 per day?!!! That is impossible! There must be some error. 33 may be?

Kishani 10 years ago

You can build the tallest towers, the grandest or most exuberant structures in the world, but if you don’t know how to treat a fellow human being with respect how can you call yourself civilised!

Ricky 10 years ago

That is why these people have no mental happiness. Even though they have all material wealth, there is no peace of mind in these families and these countries.

Mounir 10 years ago

Before some people start spewing filth like "how can you call yourself civilized", perhaps these same people read the article again, with the focus on this lonely statement: "Of the 330 deaths the majority are not considered to be murder, the paper reported." Oh by the way, talking about 'civilized', lets look at how many of those 'civilized' Sri Lankans killed each other in the past year, before we talk about how a few maids died in the middle east.

Chamin 10 years ago

Well, you have to count not only murders, but also suicides. Most of the accidents there too are murders that are covered up. Although off-topic, it is definitely not civilized to kill each other even at war. But that does not take my right away to comment about killing your domestic helpers. I am a peaceful citizen of the Earth.

Nilantha 10 years ago

This is shame and we should stop sending our daughters and mothers as slave to Arab region to earn wealth. Sending srilankans to unskilled labour jobs in this region ruin our dignity and respect as nation. Corruptive Political leaders in our country do not look these matters seriously due to commissions and big money from those agents! (Human smugglers)

Expat 10 years ago

Mounir - Lets not make the comparison between a war and these deaths. Our religion teaches us to respect and be considerate to fellow people, and this should be adapted in our way of life. What drives a person to do something stupid - An escape from their sufferings. Just think hypothetically - If you are employed (somewhere) and your boss just decides that every mistake made by you needs to be rewarded by physical violence, how would you feel? Please step in people's shoes and think if you can face the same treatment. Other people - You can't generalise this as a Middle East or Arab motivated problem. Quite a few Sri Lankan maids work for expatriate families which are from all over the world, but the problem may not lie due to ill treatement of their sponsors. Most of them have personal problems - back home, financial issues, relationship, family pressures, etc and this is a large stress. Please understand the situation from all aspects before you jump to conclusion. People in Middle East are really nice and considerate. They respect and do care about people. They treat them well and have a good heart. There are exceptions - but that happens everywhere in the world, even in the so called civilised world ..globally. So lets not typecast the matter.

Mounir 10 years ago

Expat: I did not belittle the death; those who have been killing each other for over 2 decades without any shame or mercy have no right nor place to question or belittle our civility.

Sahar 10 years ago

The Government should put very strict rules on people (locals or expats) who harrasses (beating, not paying, bad wording) their maids from any nationality in the UAE, as most of the parents are working parents, and we cannot afford embassies to stop letting their people work in the UAE. Those people are 1st humans, 2nd workers. even if they get low salaries and stay in our houses, but they are workers and have the minimum rights. I heard of a neighbor who didn't let her maid travel to Philippines after the maid's son died in Philippines. is this human??? Hope not, but imagine this happens to your own child and your boss didn't let you attend his funeral...and a lot of worst stories are happening...There is God and an End to each Person, so fear God!