Booming Black-market In Domestic Helpers
Category: Kuwait
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The ban on passengers from 31-countries, the stringent crack-down on illegal domestic worker recruitment offices, the return of many household helpers to their home country during the coronavirus pandemic, and a huge pent-up demand for maids in Kuwaiti households, have combined to create a thriving black-market in supply of domestic helpers.

‘Maid brokers’ have quickly moved in to fill the existing demand-supply gap in the market by offering illegal domestic workers at exorbitant prices. Many are blatantly advertising their services on social media platforms, offering African and Asian maids to work in households at the rate of KD250 per month or KD25 for four-hour work per day. The brokers then pay the domestic workers around KD10 for their four-hour stint of work and pocket the remaining KD15.

Since the start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown and curfews, the Residency Affairs Department, in coordination with the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), has arrested several people involved in this black-market. Most of the domestic workers apprehended in the process were found to be in violation of the residency and labor law. Many of the workers have absconding cases registered against them by their sponsors.

The source said that before the coronavirus pandemic, inspection teams used to arrest women working in salons, cafes, or restaurants who were on domestic workers’ residency permits, but due to the suspension of businesses as a measure against the coronavirus crisis, most of them have now begun working in homes or companies to earn money.

The Assistant Undersecretary of the Public Authority for Manpower, Dr. Mubarak Al Azmi said that PAM working in coordination with the Ministry of Interior was trying to prevent the publishing of illegal advertisements offering maid services.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are 660,00 domestic workers in Kuwait. Under the labor law in Kuwait, domestic workers are unable to work in the private sector. Many view the plight of domestic workers in Kuwait as conditions of ‘modern day slavery’ where they often work long hours, are paid low wages and have little to no time off.



22 Aug, 2020 771
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