Woman worker, oppressed in Bahrain, speaks out


This video is called Abuse of Migrant Workers in Middle East – Campaigning for Rights.

From Gulf Daily News in Bahrain:

A message to Bahrain‘s ‘most heartless sponsor’

Posted on » Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I arrived in Bahrain in August 2010 as a housemaid and worked for a Bahraini family in Arad.

After a few months, I resigned and my sponsor was kind enough to give me a release letter so I could find a better job.

A friend referred me to a cleaning company and I was assigned to clean all the ladies’ toilets at a building in Muharraq.

They did not change my housemaid visa, although I worked as a cleaner for the company.

My salary was BD100 and I worked 12 hours a day (6am-6pm), six days a week.

We worked on government holidays, but did not get overtime.

I was renting a room because when I joined the company in June, 2011, I was the only female cleaner – the rest were all men from India.

After 10 months, I resigned in April. My meagre salary could not support my children who are studying. My eldest is in college.

I was confident I would get another job with better salary.

I am a college graduate, a teacher by profession, and wanted to use my knowledge.

My employer said he cancelled my visa, but did not give me documentation to support this or my passport. He had withheld it since I joined the company.

I was able to find work at a school and worked as office staff for a month, but the school did not apply for a visa for me – contrary to what its owner promised me.

The cleaning company boss called me on June 6 to inform me that I was illegal in Bahrain.

I begged him to give me one more month to find a new sponsor who would transfer my visa.

I told him I didn’t want to go back to my country because I needed to continue working to support my family.

I am a widow and the sole breadwinner for my family, which includes my aged parents and four children.

He told me I should come to his office to settle the matter.

I went right after we talked on the phone, but to my surprise, the police were waiting for me.

Unknown to me, he had filed a police complaint against me and reported me as a “runaway”.

I gave my statement, saying I was not a runaway and actually resigned from the company, but nobody listened.

Policemen took me to the women’s jail in Isa Town, where I spent 12 days emotionally depressed.

I had no extra clothes to change into, no visitors were allowed and I could not contact the outside world.

However, I told my story to a policewoman who gave me permission to use the phone.

This is to my old employer who is the most heartless sponsor.

How could you make a police report saying I “ran away”? I was not working inside your home – I was renting a room and living outside before I joined the company and even after I resigned as a cleaner.

I resigned formally and you had no objection. I even provided an offer letter from another company, but you did not give me a chance to find another job.

Instead, you had me thrown in jail. What wrong I did for you to make my life miserable? You even wanted to interfere in my personal life by trying to trace my friends.

Worst, you got my name blacklisted so I cannot come back into Bahrain.

You are educated and have a good, reputable job, but you are a man with no heart and no feelings for poor people like me.

I only wanted to stay in Bahrain to continue working because I have a family to support.

Are you happy that you were successful in putting me in jail because of your false report to the police?

Are you happy that I suffered humiliation and mental anguish inside the jail?

Are you happy that my children have to stop going to school because I lost my job and returned home unemployed and penniless?

I didn’t even have money for transport to reach home from the airport. I am undergoing stress therapy in my country. What happened to me was a nightmare and I am struggling to recover.

J B

Bahrain authorities should investigate police actions during recent demonstrations that injured one activist and narrowly missed injuring a journalist: here.

Will Bahrain Convict an 11-year-old “Protester”? Here.

13 thoughts on “Woman worker, oppressed in Bahrain, speaks out

  1. Bahrain court orders monitoring for 11-year-old

    REEM KHALIFA, Associated Press

    Updated 08:59 a.m., Thursday, July 5, 2012

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A Bahraini court ruled Thursday that an 11-year-old boy accused of taking part in anti-government protests may remain at home but must be monitored by authorities.

    The ruling appeared to bring the case to a close.

    Ali Hasan’s case has been closely watched because he was one of the youngest demonstrators taken into custody in the unrest in the strategic Gulf island nation, which serves as the base for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

    Bahrain has experienced more than 16 months of near daily protests in an uprising led by the kingdom’s Shiite majority. It seeks greater political rights from the Western-backed Sunni monarchy.

    The juvenile court judge ruled that Hasan must be monitored by a social worker for a year, according to Bahraini authorities and the boy’s lawyer, Shahzalan Khamis. Visits will be scheduled once every six months.

    Hasan was detained in May on charges of joining an illegal gathering and other claims related to the unrest. The government alleges he was involved in blocking roads three times on May 13.

    He was allowed to return home June 11 after a month in custody. The final ruling in his case wasn’t reached until Thursday.

    Even with the court’s decision, Hasan’s legal status remains unclear. Khamis, his lawyer, told The Associated Press that the charges against her client have not formally been dropped.

    “The decision today condemns him indirectly,” she said after the court’s ruling. “I am not happy with the decision. This boy is innocent and did not commit a crime.”

    The government’s Information Affairs Authority confirmed in an emailed response to questions that charges against the boy have not been dropped, but it did not clarify whether he had formally been found guilty of any crime.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed reporting.

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  2. Pingback: Desperate Indian workers’ suicides in dictatorial Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. More young women leave their homes in the Philippines than anywhere else in the world to seek a better life working as nannies and maids. Without any legal protection, these women – some as young as 9 years old – are subject to sexual abuse and are forced to work excessive hours for little or no pay.

    Help stop millions of women and girls from being deceived and sold into slavery.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    Dear Activist,

    Did you know that in the Philippines, more women leave their homes to work as maids or nannies than in any other country? But on their first day of “work”, many learn they’ve been deceived. Locked inside strangers’ homes, their passports taken away, many suffer beatings and sexual abuse. Filipino women are the face of domestic work around the world – and sadly, the face of domestic slavery.

    But this summer, we can help change that. The Philippines Senate is voting on a law to protect domestic workers from falling into slavery1.

    43,000 people have already signed our petition asking the Senate to pass the law. Our partners in the Philippines tell us this wave of international attention is having a tremendous impact! We want to reach 50,000 signatures by the time the Senate comes back in session in three weeks. Please sign and tell your friends today:

    Stop Millions of Women and Girls from Being Deceived and Sold Into Slavery

    Walk Free: The Movement to End Modern SlaveryRecently, our partners in the Philippines organized a Walk for Freedom to demand government action. Thousands of people marched in the streets of Manila asking their government to protect millions of women and girls from falling into domestic slavery. Survivors shared their horror stories of leaving their homes to find a job as a maid – only to end up as a slave.

    And Walk Free members were there with them in spirit! 43,000 people from 156 countries have already signed our petition calling on the Philippines to sign the law. The world is watching – if the Philippines becomes the 2nd country to ratify the law, under the International Labour Organization’s provisions, it comes into effect2.

    We need to keep the momentum going – help us reach our goal of 50,000 signatures by signing and telling your friends today! Walk Free will deliver the petition to the Philippines Senate to send a strong message to senators to pass this law as soon as they come back in session.

    Stop Millions of Women and Girls from Being Deceived and Sold Into Slavery

    Thank you for your support,
    Tim, Debra, Lauren, Galit, Martine, David, Josh and the rest of the Walk Free team

    More information:

    1. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/business/2012/06/07/senator-pushes-concurrence-ilo-convention-225740

    2. http://www.ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/100thSession/media-centre/press-releases/WCMS_157891/lang–en/index.htm

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  4. Please support, sign and return to the emails indicated before August 20, 2012. Many thanks for your solidarity!

    Petition Letter in Support of Ms. Jean Gocotano’s appeal to the Danish government to allow her to stay to be able to work with the FOA (Fag og Arbejde – Au Pair Network) as an organizer for au pair’s in Denmark.

    Background

    Ms. Jean Gocotano is a Filipino au pair who has worked and rendered excellent service in Denmark for several years now. Because of her dedication to her work as an au pair, and because she strongly believes that only through organizing and educating au pairs on their rights, will they be genuinely empowered, thus effectively confronting the abuses and exploitation that have hounded au pairs in the past years.

    The FOA, a Danish organization, which took an interest on the plight of au pairs in Denmark, has manifested its intention to hire Ms. Gocotano for her to be able to reach out to au pairs and organize and educate them.

    However, her permit to stay has expired, despite her and the FOA’s appeal to allow her to stay in Denmark and be hired by the FOA as an au pair organizer. She appealed to the Danish government to consider her desire to work with the FOA as an au pair organizer and extend her a working permit.

    She won the first round of appeal as the Danish government ruled that she can stay in Denmark while her request to be given a work and stay permit is being decided. She is appealing to everyone to support her appeal.

    Therefore, we, the undersigned strongly urge the Danish government:

    1) to immediately decide in favor of Ms. Gocotano’s appeal to be given a work and stay permit.

    2) to allow Ms. Gocotano to work with the FOA in reaching out to au pairs in the thrust to empower them

    3) to recognize the good intentions of the FOA in addressing the plight of au pairs by hiring Ms. Gocotano

    4) to effectively address the plight of au pairs in Denmark by instituting measures to fully observe the European Convention on Au Pair Placement.

    Name/Organization Country

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  5. Pingback: Bahraini dictatorship for people, freedom for corporations | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Bahrain:

    TWO suicide notes hold the key to explaining why an Indonesian housemaid reportedly jumped to her death from the third floor of her sponsor’s house in Jid Ali yesterday.

    Silqusti Stianu Simon, 27, was found lying on a pathway leading to the garage by her sponsor at around 6am.

    She was clutching a suicide note – written in Bahasa [Indonesia] (the Indonesian language) – in her hand and another was found under a pillow on her bed.

    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=339075

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  7. Pingback: Migrant workers oppressed in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Indian worker abused in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Three housemaids hurt in escape bid

    By Sandeep Singh Grewal , Posted on » Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    THREE housemaids allegedly forced to work round-the-clock during Ramadan escaped from their employers by jumping from the balconies of their homes, it has emerged.

    The women – an Indian and two Indonesians – suffered minor injuries and are being treated at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC).

    They claim they were being exploited, overworked and physically harassed, while one was even found to be a teenager who entered the country using forged documents.

    Their case has been taken up by the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), which is urging authorities to investigate the allegations.

    It comes amid reports that a large number of housemaids and domestic drivers across the Gulf run away from their employers during the Holy month due to tremendous work pressure and mistreatment including unpaid salaries, overwork and lack of food.

    “The cases of the two Indonesian domestic workers were referred by us to their embassy, while we are following up the case of the Indian woman who had to undergo surgery on her hand and fractured her legs,” said MWPS chairwoman Marietta Dias yesterday.

    Official documents of the Indian woman, only known as Anusha, shows she is 35-years-old, however a probe revealed she is only 19.

    The woman, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, started working for a Bahraini family last month, but claims she was forced to flee because she was being physically abused.

    “Clearly the documents were forged in India, and this poor lady paid BD310 to an agent to complete all the formalities,” said Ms Dias.

    “India needs to toughen its immigration rules and screen passengers.

    “This is just one case of forged documents used to change the age of a housemaid so that she could work in Bahrain or any other Gulf country.”

    Ms Dias added Anusha arrived in Bahrain using a “forged” visit visa with the help of unscrupulous manpower agents.

    Probe

    The MWPS, which runs a shelter for distressed women, also met the two Indonesian women, who leapt from the balconies of their Bahraini sponsor’s homes in separate incidents during the last week of Ramadan.

    “There was a language problem and they did not stop crying when we met them,” said Ms Dias.

    “We forwarded their case to the Indonesian Embassy.”

    An embassy official told the GDN they were following up the cases with the authorities concerned.

    “Due to the Eid break their cases were delayed, but what we know is that in a desperate attempt the two women decided to escape from their employer’s residences,” he said.

    “They have sustained hand and leg injuries, but are in stable condition.”

    The official revealed they are also following up the case of two other runaway housemaids, who got pregnant under mysterious circumstances.

    “In one case, the woman had an abnormal pregnancy and was treated at SMC,” he added.

    “In the second case, the woman delivered the baby.”

    Bahrain has backed a unified Gulf job contract for domestic workers with provisions for a day off in a week, timely payment of wages and the right for workers to keep their passports.

    In June, Bahrain also passed a new legislation to prosecute people who employ runaway housemaids.

    They could be jailed for six months and fined up to BD1,000, while the domestic workers could also face six months behind bars.

    Officials have already registered 147 complaints related to maids since January – with the majority being runaways along with theft and prostitution cases.

    Meanwhile, last year the Labour Ministry issued a total of 33,409 permits for maids and 5,150 for male domestic helpers while a total of 1,674 cases of runaway maids were reported.

    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=359167

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  10. Pingback: Ethiopian domestic worker’s suicide in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Bahrain regime blames women for unemployment | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Domestic workers exploitation in Bahrain getting still worse? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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