Well done to the GDN for their continuous reporting on stories about maid abuse. Apparently, they have been getting some flak from the recruiting agents for their coverage of abuse cases. And really, the government has to start doing something to crack down on this ridiculous practice of locking up unhired maids in offices. The respective embassies also need to put pressure on the government to take some action, because right now they are nowhere to be heard.
Anyways, here is Les Horton's editorial about this issue:
We are a "filthy newspaper" according to one manpower agent who didn't want to talk to us about the plight of one of his maids. He is angry with us it seems for "making things bad" for recruiting agents, many of whom mistreat the women they bring here to work.
The Filipina maid we were inquiring about was Gloria Lipranza, who was rescued earlier this week after jumping from the seventh-floor office of a manpower agency in the Kuwaiti Building, in Manama. She grabbed hold of a balcony railing one floor below and clung there until firemen managed to reach her and pull her to safety.
Now no-one is suggesting that she jumped because she was being mistreated, though the agent himself said she was frightened because she thought she would be sent back home. Gloria, who is partially deaf, had returned to the agency on Monday after refusing to stay with the Bahraini family to whom she had been assigned. She had been in Bahrain for just three months and once back at the agency was apparently afraid that her family in Manila would be angry with her if she was sent home so early. For like so many in her situation, Gloria will not have left her family for the sunshine of Bahrain, but because even the little a housemaid earns here can ease the poverty back home.
Once back at the agency, she had nowhere to go and spent Monday night sleeping in the office. This is common practice amongst agents in Bahrain. They ship women in, then leave them sleeping in cramped offices, without proper bedding, bathroom or kitchen facilities, while they place them with employers. However decent the agent may be, it is unacceptable that people should be treated in this way, particularly as many are locked in those offices overnight - unable to go out at will, or to escape in the event of a fire.
We are not, as a newspaper, trying to make things bad for anybody. But we are trying to highlight the flaws of a trade that is flouting basic human rights.