The hand of LP Ariyawathie, hammered full of nails by her Saudi employers (BBC)
Everybody knows that migrant workers are abused based on anecdotes, mainly from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi couple that hammered 24 nails into a woman, the Sri Lankan woman kept hostage for 14 years, the Indonesian maid beheaded by the Saudi government, etc nauseum. But aside from anecdotes, how bad is it. According to Caritas, pretty fucking bad.
A research booklet launched by Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC – the social service arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference – to mark International Migrant Workers Day on Saturday also revealed that while 31% are subjected to physical abuse, 30% of them had complained of non payment of salaries. Deprivation of food was also a common complaint made by the respondents of the research as 44% of them had to face this problem.
Some 25% of the workers were not given a proper place to sleep, the research also revealed. (Daily Mirror)
To repeat, a migrant workers chances of being fed properly is about 50/50. The chance of being abused, not paid or sleeping like a dog is pretty much one in four. That’s pretty bad. On one side, the governments that allow this abuse within their borders are pretty shameful, with Saudi Arabia at the front of the line. Custodian of the holy mosques perhaps, but not a good custodian of custodians.
On the other hand, local governments like Sri Lanka need to A) protect our people abroad, regardless of class and B) generally manage the economy better such that people don’t consider working for douchebags a better choice. I mean, think about it, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans are choosing bad meals, likely abuse and unlikely pay over whatever they can get at home. Both the rock and the hard place need to be filed down. The Sri Lankan economy is getting way better, but it’s still not making enough local (generally unskilled) jobs. That needs to proceed apace, hand-in-hand with rising economic clout that enables us to better defend our people abroad.