Uganda bans housemaids from working in Saudi Arabia

Ugandan women claim abuse and torture in audio recording that went viral and prompted government action.

    According to Ugandan figures, about 500 housemaids have gone to Saudi Arabia since the deal took effect [EPA]
    According to Ugandan figures, about 500 housemaids have gone to Saudi Arabia since the deal took effect [EPA]

    The Ugandan government has banned its citizens from taking jobs as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, claiming they are often abused by their employers.

    Wilson Muruli Mukasa, minister of gender, labour and social development, said on Friday that the government continued "to receive information of our people being subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of the employers in Saudi Arabia".

    "The ban will remain in force until the conditions are deemed fitting," Mukasa said in a letter sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Uganda's Independent magazine said the letter came days after an audio recording circulated on social media in which a number of Ugandan women claimed to be in prison in Saudi Arabia and shared stories of abuse.

    "This recording resulted in a lot of public outcry, and many think it could have been the peak for government's final decision on the matter," the paper said.

    The plight of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia


    The decision came six months after Saudi Arabia and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding that enabled Ugandan domestic workers to seek employment in Saudi Arabia. It was seen as a way of addressing high unemployment rates among young people in Uganda.

    "Our expectations were that with the signing of the agreement, trafficking in persons to Saudi Arabia would stop," Mukasa said. 

    Uganda becomes the fourth country after Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines to ban their nationals from travelling to Saudi to work as domestic workers over concerns of abuse.

    According to Ugandan figures, about 500 housemaids have gone to Saudi Arabia since the deal took effect.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months