A new report by Amnesty International revealed how migrant domestic workers employed in Qatar have been pushed to breaking point by extreme overwork, lack of rest, and abusive and degrading treatment.
Filipino domestic workers were among those who reportedly experiencing abuse and exploitation in Qatar despite government reforms aimed at improving their working conditions, an official of the Amnesty International Philippines said Tuesday.
The organization spoke to 105 women who had been employed as live-in domestic workers in Qatar for the report – some of whom said they had been victims of serious crimes.
Wilnor Papa, Human Rights Officer of AI Philippines, said Filipino domestic workers are among those who were interviewed for the report, but he did not give a number as to how many Filipinos were interviewed.
“Definitely, there were Filipinas interviewed in the report. They are more willing to talk about their situation aside from that Filipino domestic workers are more organized. They can easily be talked to and be found,” Papa told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
According to the AI report, majority or 90 of the 105 women interviewed disclosed they regularly worked more than 14 hours a day; 89 said they regularly worked seven days a week; while 87 confessed they had their passports confiscated by their employers.
Half of the women worked more than 18 hours per day, and most had never had a single day off at all, the AI report likewise bared.
The AI report also disclosed that some of the domestic workers in Qatar are not being paid properly while 40 women described being insulted, slapped, or spat at.
This is despite Qatar’s Domestic Workers Law, which stipulated limits on working hours, mandatory daily breaks, a weekly day off, and paid holidays, AI noted.
“The introduction of the 2017 Domestic Workers Law was a step forward for labour rights protection in Qatar,” said Steve Cockburn, AI’s Head of Economic and Social Justice.
“Sadly, the accounts of the women we spoke to make it clear that these reforms have not been properly implemented or enforced.”
“Domestic workers told us they were working an average of 16 hours a day, every day of the week, far more than the law allows. Almost all had their passport confiscated by their employers, and others described not getting their salaries and being subjected to vicious insults and assaults,” Cockburn said.
“The overall picture is of a system that continues to allow employers to treat domestic workers not as human beings but as possessions,” he added.
AI said there are around 173,000 migrant domestic workers in Qatar.
According to the AI report, long working hours with no proper rest emerged as one of the most common forms of abuse experienced by migrant domestic workers in Qatar.
Meanwhile, at least 23 women interviewed in the report said they were not given enough food and felt hungry during their employment in Qatar.
AI said some women interviewed also described sleeping in cramped rooms, in some cases on the floor or without air conditioning.
The organization likewise talked to 40 women who said they had suffered verbal and physical abuse. Often this involved degrading treatment, shouting, and insults.
Papa said Filipino domestic workers in Qatar are not exempted from such abuse and said the Philippine government should be more active and serious in dealing with reports of abuse. (Source: INQUIRER.net)