Maids risk abuse and exploitation if they drop out of system



DUBAI // Domestic workers have exposed themselves to exploitation and abuse by failing to follow official procedures for obtaining work or slipping out of the system.

After working as a maid for a year, AA absconded when her employer's son held a blade to her throat.

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"I had to escape," AA, a Filipina, said of her departure in September last year. "I joined a cleaning agency that accepts runaway maids.

"They promised me Dh1,000 a month but I worked there for four months and never received a salary. I was working from 7am until midnight cleaning apartments."

AA said when she and the other cleaners were not working they were locked in a room.

"On January 22, I refused to work. I said I was not feeling well," she said. "I had managed to get a duplicate copy of the key so I was able to run away."

RT, also from the Philippines, came to the UAE on a visit visa and took a job as a live-in housemaid. She left after a month because she did not like being locked in the house.

She joined a cleaning agency and signed a contract that promised her Dh700 a month.

"But what's happening is the salary is based on hours worked, not the Dh700," RT said. "If there was no work I did not receive anything."

A 2007 Human Rights Watch study, titled Exported and Exposed, spelt out the dangers faced by Sri Lankan domestic workers dealing with labour agents in countries including the UAE.

"In an alarming number of cases, domestic workers seeking the labour agent's intervention to resolve problems or a transfer to a better employer led to even greater abuse.

"Some labour agents provided needed help, while others beat and threatened domestic workers when they fled their employers and sought assistance.

"Human Rights Watch also documented cases in which labour agents returned women to their abusive employers using force or duress."

Migrante International UAE, a group that supports workers from the Philippines, has come across similar cases.

"In the past six months there have been two instances where a maid went to the agency to complain about her employer, and the agency contacted the employer and asked the maid to go back to the employer," said Shayne Rosqueta, the vice chair of the group.

"Maids are not going back to the agency because they are afraid the agency will contact the employer."

Visas for live-in housemaids are paid for by the employer.

But RT was shocked to find that the cost of her visa and accommodation was being deducted by the cleaning company from her meagre earnings.

"Because of this I was receiving nothing so I've left the company," she said.

Fears about the welfare of maids has also been expressed in a report on the UAE by India's Ministry of Overseas Affairs.

"There were also concerns about the exploitation of women in the Gulf region," the report says.

"The minimum age for housemaids is fixed at 30, but still the problem persists through fake age certificates and other rackets."

Pros and cons of BNPL

Pros

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  • Offers the ability to spread the cost of purchases over time, often interest-free
  • Convenient and can be integrated directly into the checkout process, useful for online shopping
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Cons

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Courtesy: Carol Glynn

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The Afghan connection

The influx of talented young Afghan players to UAE cricket could have a big impact on the fortunes of both countries. Here are three Emirates-based players to watch out for.

Hassan Khan Eisakhil
Mohammed Nabi is still proving his worth at the top level but there is another reason he is raging against the idea of retirement. If the allrounder hangs on a little bit longer, he might be able to play in the same team as his son, Hassan Khan. The family live in Ajman and train in Sharjah.

Masood Gurbaz
The opening batter, who trains at Sharjah Cricket Academy, is another player who is a part of a famous family. His brother, Rahmanullah, was an IPL winner with Kolkata Knight Riders, and opens the batting with distinction for Afghanistan.

Omid Rahman
The fast bowler became a pioneer earlier this year when he became the first Afghan to represent the UAE. He showed great promise in doing so, too, playing a key role in the senior team’s qualification for the Asia Cup in Muscat recently.

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company profile

Date started: May 2022
Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5


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