It has become a necessity for families now. Even single people need house maids here now. Why?
When I look at the advertisements on the net, I see families seeking house maids aggressively! There is the occasional bachelor seeking a house maid too ( let us assume he truly needs one and is not playing out the “french” maid fantasy- it won’t work anyway even if he gets the maid! Read on to see why).
Some of the western people I know consider this slavery of sorts. But the fact is, in asian and arab countries, this has been the lifestyle for centuries. We will discuss that in another post one day.
Today, my concern is not this. It is the status and “mafia” of the house maids in the kingdom.
It is common that a Saudi family spends a lot of money to bring a maid here. It is common that she runs away leaving her passport with them and then becomes one of the illegal residents. Then, for a number of years, she works in various places. Makes money. May even do illegal things like stealing and prostitution. And, then, go to her embassy and leave the country after a court case against her initial employer or some kind of agreement. There are others who live completely decent lives, get married and even have kids here. Kids delivered under various identification cards or even at home!
It has become an industry by itself. The house maid industry of Saudi Arabia. It is a grey area. Uncontrollable by the government for many reasons. The population of these women is quite large judging from availability. In Riyadh, you get a few specific nationalities – mainly Philippinos – but in Jeddah, you get all kinds of nationalities thanks to over staying pilgrims and visitors.
What happens when these people violate or get violated against? What are they supposed to do? Who is sponsoring them? What is going on?
I know a Pakistani guy that cleans cars outside Tamimi on Talateen street. He has been doing so for 3 years or more. Apart from him, there are Bengals also there. His case is interesting.
His sponsor charged him 5000 to let him bring his second wife, 16, his sons, 15 and 11 and his daughter , 14, into KSA. They all work. The women work as house maids ( illegally) and the son helps him with the cars. Are we to call this child labor? What if these kids are abused? What can happen?
I am sure his sponsor gets a monthly fee for this. Many decent professionals are unable to call their families here, how did he do it?
It so happens, that because of such sponsors, these house maids and workers are ” protected” . They appear and disappear as they please.
An indian family that had an indian maid, stole all their money and disappeared to India. How? Who helped her?
The point of this post is to show how the sponsorship system has been abused by locals and expatriates and created illegal industries that operate on large scales right under our noses!
I do wish that there was a way to legalize these people, filter them and give citizens and residents the comfort and security of hiring registered and professional domestic helpers!