Help Rescue Ugandan maids from slavery in the U.A.E
He assaults me every other day, sometimes for no reason whatsoever. I work for a couple in Dubai. I was never briefed about the man's disability prior to working for this family yet I accepted my fate. I knew for certain I was going to help around the house with chores but was surprised when I was the one supposed to cater for my disabled boss with out any help, I would help him bathe, carry him to the toilet and anywhere else he wanted to go without anyone's help. I never cared so much about his disability until the abuse started, most times he pushes me or slaps me. 'I asked them to take me back to the recruitment office because i could not bear the mistreatment anymore but I was ignored'. Due to the special care that my boss needed I asked for an increment in my salary but it was declined. Am therefore stuck in this house with no where to go and being assaulted on a weekly basis.
NABIRYE SHIFA's story is no different from the over 30 audios that I heard on 'Kadanke Team no stress' a Whatsapp group and safe place for Ugandan House Maids in the United Arab Emirates. They cried over voices of happy children in the background and encouraged one another to stay strong.
One of the women cried from bondage in a bathroom cell, she had not had a meal all day. 'I am tired, I think this is the end of me am thinking of taking her my life. It was not the first time she was locked in the filthy bathroom.
'Don't do it cried the other girls in the group, please, don't!'
The others spoke of overwork usually from 5am to 2am , racial abuse like calling them dogs and monkeys hence they were lucky to have rice daily as a meal. Most of these maids eat plain white rice and tomato sauce on a daily basis, with majority getting one meal a day, which meals are usually left overs.
The women talked about failure by their employers to stick to the terms of the contract like for example provision of sanitary pads and food, medical bills among others. With the 800 Durhams (217 USD) paid to these women on a monthly basis, they have to cater to most of these needs and are left with little or nothing to look after their Children. Most of these women leave Uganda because they want to provide for their children, and they end up not doing so because of fault in payments or sometimes no payment at all.
Sex abuse behind closed doors, One woman talked about how she was currently nursing tears from continued rape and was informed by her boss not to say anything of the incident or she would not receive her pay.
These employers only do so because they are aware nothing can be done to them both by the Ugandan Embassy and Recruitment agencies in the U.A.E because they are protected under the Kafala System.
Uganda, statistically has witnessed a decline in Human trafficking cases . According to The National Preventing of Trafficking in Persons Office, there were 837 cases in2013 and 294 in 2014. Although this is a step towards combating human trafficking in Uganda, it cannot be denied that people will forget about a pressing issue until tragedy reoccurs like death of one of the victims. Today 30 women are still held captive in their said places of work, with no voice, helpless because they are in debt to their masters. Forced by circumstances and fear of being ridiculed by society and their families most, victims are in limbo with no one to turn to as their own agent wont help in neutralizing the situations, the Uganda Embassy in these states will do so little or nothing.
According to Migrant Rights. org, ‘The Government of Uganda has on occasion agreed to supply millions of domestic workers to countries like Saudi Arabia in order to cover human resource shortages caused by bans on migrants from countries such as the Philippines, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Countries like Uganda are cash strapped and desperate enough to sign these unfavorable deals without considering the implications of human trafficking in the midst of Gulf’s Labor rights crisis’
Maids like Nabirye Shifah are prone to exploitation of recruitment agencies because of their gullibility. The government of Uganda should therefore take effort in cracking down Recruitment Agencies responsible for trafficking these women.
Help is needed in Urging the Government of Uganda to put maximum efforts into combating Human trafficking. The government should stop relying on International organizations to provide the necessary care but cater to returned victims like BABIRYE FATUMA, to protect them from traffickers who threaten their lives and re traffic them thus continuing the cycle.
Please join me in asking the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development to implement Foreign Labor Recruitment Guidelines and Regulations and adequately supervise Recruitment Agencies and pursue human traffickers.
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