Sri Lanka missions report sharp drop in cases of runaway maids

Updated 11 March 2014
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Sri Lanka missions report sharp drop in cases of runaway maids

Following the end of the amnesty, the Sri Lankan missions in Jeddah and Riyadh are witnessing a sharp drop in the number of runaway housemaids.
“There is a remarkable decrease in the number of runaway housemaids coming to the Jeddah mission,” Consul General at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah, Dr. Atham Bawa Uthuma Lebbe, said on Monday. The consul general pointed out that the main reason for the fall in this category of maidservants is that those who are currently working in various households are afraid to run away from their homes fearing adverse consequences.
Earlier, he recalled that the Jeddah mission used to receive more than 100 runaway maids on a monthly basis but now it receives less than 10 maids a month.
Recently, he said a labor court in Jeddah asked two runaway housemaids to pay SR25,000 each to be deported to Colombo, their hometown.
Uthuma Lebbe explained that a Saudi sponsor spends more than SR20,000 to get a maid from Colombo. “How can he recover the money if the maid runs away from the household ?,” he quipped.
To get a Muslim maid from Colombo, the sponsor has to pay SR5,000 to the maid in addition to the visa fees, agent’s fees and the airfare.
A senior official from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh said that his mission is also experiencing a similar drop in the number of runaway cases. “Earlier, we used to see at least 10 maids a day, but now we hardly get to see one maid a day,” the diplomat said.
He pointed out that another reason for the sharp drop in the runaway cases is that the two countries have streamlined the recruitment process.
“The maids are content with the minimum salary of SR900. The domestics are also given a proper orientation program prior to their arrival in the Kingdom and they are taught basic Arabic to familiarize with the local cultural environment,” he said.
Last year, 15 Saudi sponsors filed cases against Sri Lankan housemaids who ran away from their homes in the Eastern Province.
The sponsors claimed that they had spent around SR20,000 to SR25,000 each to recruit a maid from Colombo. However, the maids ran away shortly after their arrival in the Kingdom, it was alleged.
With the help of the local police, the sponsors arrested the runaway maids and brought them to book.
In their legal action, the Saudi sponsors claimed a reimbursement of the money spent on the recruitment of these maids to the Kingdom from the concerned parties.
In Colombo, there is a great demand for housemaids bound for Saudi Arabia. The agents had to lure these maids by paying them around SR5,000 prior to their departure to the Kingdom. On arrival in the Kingdom, the maids wanted to go back home by giving false reasons, leaving their sponsors in the lurch.
According to the new labor contract introduced by the Sri Lankan government last year, a maid is entitled to get more than SR900 as her monthly salary in the Kingdom.



According to an agent in Colombo, the maids sent to Saudi Arabia get a six-month salary in advance while they are still in Colombo and before their departure to Saudi Arabia. Despite that they are still not content with the set-up in the host country.


Houthis accused of looting humanitarian aid

A worker unloads aid packages from a Saudi air force cargo plane, at an airfield in the northern province of Marib, Yemen, in this January 22, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 58 min 37 sec ago
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Houthis accused of looting humanitarian aid

  • The Yemen Scholars Association condemned the Houthi militia for looting relief aid in areas under its control

JEDDAH: The Yemen Scholars Association on Saturday blamed the Iranian-backed Houthi militias for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The associated accused the Houthis of looting humanitarian aid.
According to the Yemeni scholars, Houthi actions have resulted in the suspension of salaries of hundreds of thousands of employees for nearly two years.
The Association praised the efforts and humanitarian support of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), which provides, directly and indirectly, most of the humanitarian relief support for the Yemeni people.
The Yemen Scholars Association condemned the Houthi militia for looting relief aid in areas under its control.
According to a human rights report, At least 113 people have been tortured to death in detention centers in Yemen run by the Houthis since the coup began
Yemeni Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar told Arab News that the figures in the report were only estimates and that the real figures were much higher.