A Life Of Servitude

Domestic workers of Saudi Arabia, they come from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Africa. In the hopes of landing a job with a rich Saudi family, People pay lots of money to recruitment agencies and in return, the agencies handle all the paperwork, such as passport and visas and in some circumstances forging documents to make people appear older. In Saudi Arabia, the legal age for work begins at 16, there have been cases where some workers were under the legal working age when they arrived in Saudi Arabia. In addition, any unskilled worker who wants to come and work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has to have a sponsor first. Workers can not enter or leave the country without the sponsor’s permission.

Reports of abuse

Saudi Arabia has a long tenacious past when it comes to dealing with unskilled workers. Just recently as 1962 Slavery was abolished, and since the Saudis didn’t have slaves anymore they still needed help with minor things of the day such as washing their own clothes, caring for their children, cleaning their roads, constructing buildings, and just the general upkeep of the state. Since they were too holy to do the minor jobs themselves, they needed more slaves, to solve this critical problem, the Saudis came up with the guest worker program. With this program, they could continue slavery because why stop a good thing, right? Apparently in Saudi Arabia, treating people from lower social economic backgrounds like animals is a national pastime.

There have been cases of rape, migrants being physically assaulted, women sexually assaulted, migrants locked in their place of work unable to leave. Cases of sponsors keeping the passports of migrants and the passports of their families, unwilling to give back the passports thus making them a hostage of the sponsor and Saudi Arabia. Reports of workers slaving over eleven hours a day without overtime pay, some even working without breaks. Saudi Arabia does not have any laws that protect migrants from maltreatment so when abuse of any nature occurs migrants are reluctant to report to the authorities. And why would they?

In a country where your host can murder you and get away with it for the mere fact that they are Saudis and you are nothing but a guest/slave to them. In the rare case that you must defend yourself against aggression and you kill your aggressor in self-defense, that is no concern to them as you may find a sword coming down on your neck regardless of the fact. Migrants have been falsely accused of crimes that they didn’t commit and made to sign a confession without a lawyer or translator present as everything is in the Arabic language.

Sometimes after a death of a worker, may it be by execution or murder, the home country of that migrant isn’t notified until after death. Also, the sponsors still own you even in death, some employers in Saudi Arabia have flat-out refused to send the body of a migrant back home. Even as I write this, there are many domestic workers from poorer countries on death row now for frivolous charges in the land of Mecca.





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