Migrant Domestic Workers Face Horrific Abuses in the U.A.E.

By Ena Cefo

In a report titled “I Already Bought You,” Human Rights Watch details the horrific condition of the approximately 236,500 migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates, who moved to the Gulf nation on promises of high wages and good working conditions. Labor-recruiting agencies have been accused of confiscating passports and personal belongings, and of exchanging the original contract terms with terms requiring longer hours and lower pay. Furthermore, the U.A.E.’s kafala visa sponsorship system gives the employer complete control over the worker, by imposing administrative offenses on workers who leave the employment without the employer’s permission. Female workers often suffered physical and sexual assaults, as well as verbal assaults from their employers.