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Kuwait to regulate domestic workers
The country is planning new rules to protect the rights of sponsors and to help prevent visa trading among domestic workers.
August 12, 2009 2:17 by Aarti Nagraj
Between five and 10 Filipino housemaids flee from their sponsors every day in Kuwait, the Philippine Labor Attaché, Josephus Jimenez, told Kuwaiti media last month. He said around 176 runaway housemaids were staying at the embassy’s Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC). The workers blamed non-payment of salaries, verbal abuse and sexual harassment as reasons for fleeing.
A similar story was reported by the Sri Lankan authorities. Sunil Sirisena, secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, said last month that every day around 20 Sri Lankan domestic workers sought shelter at the Kuwait safe house maintained by the Sri Lankan Embassy. The ministry authorities were making arrangements for these workers to return to Sri Lanka soon, he said.
According to reports, however, Kuwait is also taking steps to protect domestic workers. The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs submitted a draft bill to the cabinet last month for a proposed center for the rehabilitation of domestic workers. Officials said that KD156,000 ($542,720) has been earmarked for the project, and if approved the center will accommodate 500 people.
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