Lanka clamp on maids to Bahrain
Sri Lanka is to cut the number of housemaids it sends to Bahrain as
part of efforts to stamp out cases of abuse, Honorary Consul-General P.
B. Higgoda said.
The plan was part of a Middle-East wide initiative to replace
housemaids with more skilled and semi-skilled workers. He said Sri Lanka
had already set up a number of training camps aimed at improving the
standards of female migrants, who would instead be encouraged to find
jobs as nurses, beauticians and hairdressers.
At least 100,000 Sri Lankan women migrate to the Gulf to work as
housemaids every year and are mainly employed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
the UAE and Kuwait.
Around 12,000 Sri Lankans also work in Bahrain, an estimated 3,000 of
which are housemaids.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said it had
received more than 3,400 complaints from female workers during the first
half of the year, mainly from the Gulf.
The cases included harassment, breach of contract and low or unpaid
salaries as well as allegations of sexual abuse and physical violence.
“When they come here there are so many barriers like experience, the
language and that leads to problems,” Higgoda told the Gulf Daily News.
“The number of abuse cases we are hearing about in the Gulf is huge.
People should be trained and should know the role of the profession that
they have chosen.”
Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka
said the Government was also considering tough action against
recruitment agencies and may blacklist employers who abuse workers.