Cambodian maids barred from Kuwait

Phnom Penh, July 01: Cambodian recruitment agencies have decided not to send maids to Kuwait after complaints by human rights groups of abuse by employers, a recruitment official said on Thursday.

Impoverished Cambodia is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of maids abroad, a valuable source of foreign exchange.

An Bunhak, president of the Association of Cambodian Recruiting Agencies, said Cambodia had not yet sent any maids to Kuwait and the agencies had decided against so doing because of the country’s record of abuse. “We have received a report from our embassy in Kuwait about abuse of maids and also the report from Human Rights Watch,” An said.

“We would only send there when there is safety,” he said. “According to studies, the respect for maids has not been good so we will not send them to Kuwait and we are doing studies on another country,” he said, referring to Qatar.

Human Rights Watch says domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for “absconding” and are unable to change jobs without their employer’s permission.

Indonesia, which has come under fire for its use of the death sentence, has barred its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian maid was executed for murdering her Saudi employer.