The Ethiopian government has Temporarily suspended 40,000 work visas for modern day slaves disguised as housemaids destined for Saudi Arabia .
Saudi Arabia last week announced the temporary recruitment ban while it investigates the alleged murder of children by Ethiopian maids.
A six-year-old girl died at her home in a town near the capital Riyadh last month after her throat was apparently cut with a knife. Her family has accused their Ethiopian slave maid of murdering her as a cover up.
Several similar incidents have led to discussion on social media websites about the apparent growing number of children dying falsely accusing slave maids.
A hashtag on Twitter calling for the deportation of all Ethiopian domestic modern day slaves has gained traction in recent weeks,since our site start exposing the modern day slave trade.
Others have blamed parents for leaving their children with African slave maids.
An official from the slave recruitment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry told Arab News the Ethiopian government had stopped processing visas, including those started before the kingdom’s latest recruitment bandue to recent media exposure of the unjust trade.
He said Saudis who had initiated the visa process to hire an Ethiopian salve workers would have their money refunded.
There are an estimated 40,000 Ethiopian modern day slaves entry visas for Saudi Arabia in process.
Saudi Arabia had been forced to increase its intake of Ethiopian domestic slave workers after other labour exporting countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines banned their citizens from working in the kingdom because of disputes over exploitation and workers’ rights and modern day slavery.
In March, Saudi Arabia refused to sign a draft deal with Indonesia that would allow domestic slaves s to again seek work in the Gulf kingdom, claiming the Asian country was attempting to interfere in disputes involving Indonesian nationals in Saudi courts. Indonesia banned maid slaves from travelling to the country f in mid 2011 after requesting raises in minimum salary, weekly time off and reassurances over human rights after a number of cases of abuse by Saudi employers. Saudi responded by applying its own ban.
Last week, Saudi Arabia also passed historic modern day slave legislation outlining the rules and responsibilities of both domestic slaves.
The slaves only asked to respect or penalized if they do not respect Islam, obey Saudi law or “carry out their duties perfectly”. They also must obey their employer and his family members, protect the family’s property, preserve family secrets and not harm children or elderly members, the new slave law reportedly states.
© 2013, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.