Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Domestic slaves in Arab world not joining in calls for freedom

The people protesting throughout the Middle East and North Africa want equality and a voice. However, one group of people within these countries are still not being heard despite the calls for more freedom.

Three million domestic slaves are still suffering through the same plight throughout the Arab world. Most of the domestic maids and servants work for little money or even for free. Many are treated to slave like working conditions and are subject to rape or abuse.

From the Inter Press Service, writer Simba Russeau has the story of one such domestic slave.

Before leaving Madagascar, Dima 19, was told she would find good employment and an opportunity to provide much needed money for her family that was struggling with extreme poverty and unemployment. But within a few hours of arriving at the home of her new employer in Lebanon in early April of last year, she confronted a different reality.

"The male employer picked me up from the airport and when we arrived to the home he told me to take a bath," Dima told IPS in an interview.

"He insisted that I leave the door slightly open and while I was in the bath he entered and raped me."

It became worse some weeks later. She says she was tied up and raped by the employer and two of his friends.

Within a month Dima escaped. "While the family was getting into the car I started running. I couldn’t bear living like this any more."

The current financial climate in Africa and Southeast Asia has forced many families to look for desperate ways out of life in extreme poverty.

"Recruitment agencies from our home countries are tricking new domestic employees by telling them that will have a great job, with a high paying salary and the ability to save money and provide for their families," says Aimee, a community leader and freelance domestic worker from Madagascar.

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