This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Wadsworth Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 11th (copyright 2012, although it actually came out in 2011), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news. Note that the 12th edition is currently in production and will be out in 2015.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Maid in Kuwait

Throughout the oil-rich Gulf States there are hundreds of thousands of women from Asia doing domestic work for wealthy families. They are legal guest workers, but there are many signs that they are not being treated as guests. The New York Times takes up the situation in Kuwait where hundreds of Asian women have sought refuge in their respective country's embassy because they have been abused by their employers. Kuwaiti families typically pay a fee to an agency that provides them with one or more women who are provided room and board and wages, with the latter usually being sent back home as a remittance to help support the girl's family in Asia (including Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka). The abuses suffered by some of these immigrants are not unlike those described among undocumented immigrants to the United States, with the difference that these domestic workers are in Kuwait legally, but have few legal protections. There are some who few the situation as nothing less than a form of human trafficking.

1 comment:

  1. This story really brings to light the vulnerability of women domestic workers, especially when they are far from home.

    The Population Council meeting in Ghana included a presentation by Annabel Erulkar, who leads a program in Ethiopia that seeks to provide safe learning spaces for young girls who are domestic workers in urban slum areas - http://www.popcouncil.org/projects/41_BiruhTesfaSafeSpaces.asp
    Annabel mentioned that this population is in a way invisible, as they completely fall through the cracks of school, most NGO programs, and government watch.

    Caetie and I asked our friend who lived in Nima if this practice of hiring young girls from the country for domestic work is at all found in Accra, and she confirmed it to be a huge problem, especially in Nima.

    Also of interest - the US just released their Trafficking in Persons Report for 2010, and for the first time included the United States on the list. The report can be found here:
    http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2010/

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