HRW: "I Already Bought You"

Abuse and Exploitation of Female Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Arab Emirates

by Human Rights Watch
Images by Abbas/Magnum Photos

Migrating for work can certainly provide an opportunity, but only if the worker’s human rights are respected. Some female domestic workers in the UAE have good and responsible employers, satisfactory working conditions, receive their wages in full and on time, and are able to remit money home to their families.

But in many cases, employers in the UAE and recruiting agents abuse the women who become migrant domestic workers. Workers whom Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report described a range of abuses which they had experienced. Most said their employers confiscated their passports. Some accused their employers of having physically abused them and confined them to the homes. Many said their employers had failed to pay the full wages due to them, had forced them to work excessively long hours without breaks or days off, or had denied them adequate food, living conditions, or medical treatment. Some workers were employed in circumstances that amounted to forced labor or trafficking.

MPI: "Migration's Middlemen"

Migration's Middlemen: Regulating Recruitment Agencies in the Philippines-United Arab Emirates Corridor

by Dovelyn Ranneveig Mendoza

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the world’s third-largest destination for Filipino migrants, with private recruitment agencies in both countries managing the flow of the 200,000 Filipino workers who head there annually. While many recruitment agencies provide information, logistical support, and other critical services, others abuse their clients by charging exorbitant fees or violating basic human rights.

This report, based on extensive interviews with government officials in the UAE and the Philippines as well as focus groups with migrant workers, examines recruiters’ practices as well as their regulation by the Philippine and UAE governments, offering recommendations to strengthen oversight and worker protections.

HRW: "Walls At Every Turn"

Human Rights Watch report, "Walls at Every Turn"

Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers through Kuwait’s Kafala Sponsorship System

By Human Rights Watch
Images by Moises Saman

Foreign domestic workers play an essential role in nearly every Kuwaiti household. More than 660,000 foreign domestic workers from Asia and Africa, the majority of whom are women, work for Kuwait’s 1.3 million citizens, as well as for foreign residents living in the country. While some employers develop an affectionate and caring bond with the women who care for their children, cook their meals, and clean their homes, others take advantage of weak legal protections and an isolated home environment that shields human rights abuses from outside scrutiny.