Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sensational Cases Expose Conditions Faced by Overseas Workers Throughout Asia

Last week, a Filipino woman working in Qatar as a maid gave birth on a flight from Bahrain to the Philippines, and then abandoned the child in the lavatory trash. She told officials she had become pregnant after being raped by her employer. Only a few weeks before, Sri Lankan physicians removed 24 nails and needles from a woman who had been working in Saudi Arabia. Saudi employers had hammered the nails into her body as punishment for complaining about her workload. She did not report the assault to Saudi officials for fear that her employers would prevent her from leaving.

Each year, inhabitants of the least-developed Asian countries pursue the economic benefits of overseas employment despite the high social cost at home and possibility of injury at the hands of employers abroad. Workers experience abuse along a spectrum, from being denied legal status and labor protections to enduring legally condoned and even legally abetted forms of physical and psychological abuse. Read more

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