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Jakarta Post

Maids 'treated as slaves' in Saudi Arabia

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 9 2008   /  10:48 am

Working conditions for migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia — including thousands of Indonesian workers — sometimes amount to “slavery”, according to a global human rights watchdog. “In the best cases, migrant women in Saudi Arabia enjoy good working conditions and kind employers, and in the worst they’re treated like virtual slaves. Most fall somewhere in between,” said Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch (HRW). But the rise of a “young, reformist elite” in Saudi Arabia offers opportunities for change — opportunities labor advocates and countries that send migrant labor, such as Indonesia, should take advantage of, according to HRW executive director Kenneth Roth. He said the new generation did not want the country to be known as one that “closes its eyes to the abuse of domestic workers”. ...