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    » 06/08/2012, 00.00


    Abuse of women migrant workers, Sri Lanka blocks 600 contracts with foreign agencies

    Melani Manel Perera

    Most are located in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Foreign Employment and Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (Slbfe) offering training courses to send skilled workers abroad. Compared to last year, migrant workers down by 40%.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (Slbfe) has decided to terminate contracts with more than 600 employment agencies abroad (most of them in Saudi Arabia), to protect the rights of Sri Lankan migrants. The decision comes after incidents of abuse and discrimination against migrant workers, about 1.8 million people, 45% of whom are women. In addition, Dilan Perera, Minister for Foreign Employment, said it would organize training courses, to make the most qualified Sri Lankans seeking employment abroad.

    The majority of workers who leave Sri Lanka in search of work, is employed as domestic workers, often victims of prejudice, abuse and torture. To avoid such a situation, for some time the Slbfe has initiated support programs and preparation for these women, already obtaining some results: last year, the number of women seeking work in the Middle East fell by 40%. Moreover, according to data compiled by the office, the number of skilled migrant workers has increased by 50%.

    Contacted by AsiaNews about the reduction in the number of migrant women, some say they "appreciate" this new trend, because the country "should show the world that here we are educating capable and competent women."

    Already in 2011, the Slbfe had suspended contracts with 445 agencies, 166 of which in Saudi Arabia. In Sri Lanka, the debate about migrant workers - especially women - was inflamed when in June 2007 Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of a newborn child of the family she had gone to work for as maid at the age of 17.





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    See also

    19/02/2016 11:58:00 BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA
    "Slave" workers in Saudi Arabia: We want to go home, enough ill-treatment

    Last year Dhaka and Riyadh signed an agreement to send 120 thousand workers to Arabia. In 2015, 20,952 women left for Arabia, but many have already returned. They recounted stories of abuse and threats, domestic slaves by day, sex slaves by night. Saudi recruiter: "We love Bangladeshi women because they are Muslim and wear a headscarf."

    Saudi Arabia, 70% of Filipino domestic workers suffer physical and psychological violence
    Revealed by research of the Committee on Overseas Workers Welfare. The cases of rape suffered by Filipino young people are on the agenda. To avoid an increase in wages, the government of Riyadh bans unskilled workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.

    09/12/2015 SRI LANKA - SAUDI ARABIA
    Riyadh suspends stoning of Sri Lankan domestic worker
    The woman is the mother of two children. She was sentenced to death for adultery after having had an extra-marital affair. Her lover to receive 100 lashes. Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka: "The reopening of the case is a great victory." The Ministry will pay all legal costs.

    13/11/2004 MIDDLE EAST
    The difficult situation of domestic helpers in the Gulf
    They are mostly Asian and Christian, abused, victims of violence and lacking in legal protection. Now their plight is on governments' agenda.

    19/02/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    Children condemned to death and adults detained for years without charge
    A Human Rights Watch commission conducted an official mission to Saudi Arabia and found that defendants and detainees suffered severe human rights violations. Trials are held behind closed doors and defendants have few rights. Women are subjected to constant male guardianship. Meanwhile migrant workers face a tough situation.

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