Physical Abuse and Non-payment
At all the centers, a number of women spoke freely to the Mission members about their ordeals. Some are worth underlining:
Beatings by the ―Madame‖ were common, with hot irons sometimes flung at the worker. In some cases, violence was sparked by the s not being able to understand a command given in Arabic.
Another common theme in the accounts was being kept under lock and key at the house of the employer.
Overwork was a common complaint with working hours reaching up to 20 to 22 hours per day, with no day off. Overwork was also a consequence of having to take care of several children, in some cases up to five or six. Overwork also resulted from being ―lent‖ to relatives of the employer.
Several workers also recounted getting sick but being forced to keep working and being denied hospital treatment.
Several workers complained of not being given enough to eat, with a few cases bordering on forced starvation.
One worker told a member of the mission that, as punishment for a mistake, she was forced by her employer to eat the excreta of the child she was taking care of.
Non-payment of wages for up for months on end, despite promises, was a constant complaint. In a few cases, workers had not been paid at the time they ran away.
For more on this story, visit http://focusweb.org/sites/www.focusweb.org/files/COWA_report_Saudi.pdf