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Ethiopia forced to Temporarily suspend 40,000 slave visas to Saudi due to recent a child murder

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.

 
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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.

Saudi Refused to stop enslaving young Ethiopians

It is impractical to stop recruitment of housemaids from Ethiopia, said Dr. Mutlaq Al-Hazmi, member of the recruitment committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Al-Hazmi was responding to the demand made by several citizens following fatal crimes committed by Ethiopian housemaids recently.

To stop their recruitment, Al-Hazmi said, is difficult for the time being because there is no alternate country from which the Kingdom can recruit domestic helpers. He added that recruitment from Ethiopia can only be stopped permanently when recruitment procedures from the Philippines and India are completed. But, he said, so far nothing has been done in this regard.

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“Calls to deport all Ethiopian housemaids and cease recruitment from that country come from people who base their judgment on a few isolated cases,” Al-Hazmi said.  “But let me say this, Ethiopia is the only country around the world which can currently meet the large demand of Saudi families for domestic servants,” he said.

Each month, around 7,000-10,000 Ethiopian domestic helpers arrive in the Kingdom. Dr. Al-Hazmi called for setting up companies that farm out labor just like companies in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. These companies have reduced many of the violations committed by expatriate workers in the UAE and Kuwait. They select their labor carefully, test them medically, and provide them with proper training before sending them to work.

Abdul Baqi Ajlan, Saudi Ambassador to Ethiopia, said earlier that the Kingdom would require each housemaid to undergo psychological tests before moving to the Kingdom to work for a Saudi family. He added that this would definitely reduce violations and crimes committed by Ethiopian housemaids.

Meanwhile, the Philippine overseas labor department required all Filipino domestic helpers who want to travel to the Kingdom for work to enroll in an Arabic language program to learn the language and the Saudi culture, according to Manila Standard Today daily, which is issued in the Philippines. It was reported also that the labor department would provide future labor with classes that focus on self-control and ways to integrate with society and families in general. Domestic helpers will learn basic Arabic words and phrases that are used on daily basis at households.

The head of the national committee for recruitment, Saad Al-Baddah,  has called for an immediate ban on the recruitment of maids from Ethiopia.

Al-Baddah had previously called on ministers of health in the Gulf to conduct mental examinations on workers who are recruited to work in these countries.

He said the Kingdom recruits 80,000 workers a month of both genders.