Uganda bans recruitment and deployment of Domestic workers in Saudi Arabia

January 25, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

Uganda has banned the recruitment and export of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia and other countries.

This is contained in a statement issued by the minister for Gender, Labour and social development, Muruli Mukasa, copied to the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Uganda, Uganda’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Uganda Police, Security agencies and the Ministry of Internal affairs.

“After reviewing all processes and procedures pertaining to the recruitment and deployment of house maids as well as their working conditions, we have come to the conclusion to ban the recruitment and deployment of house maids to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forthwith” read part of the statement.

The ban follows several complaints by mainly young girls and women of being tortured and subjected to inhuman treatment by their Arab employers.

There are 38 companies in Uganda licensed to recruit house maids and other workers who wish to ply their trade abroad but many have been disappointed as the pastures are not always as green as they thought, on the other side.

Many of these, especially youth, who fail to get employed in Uganda opt for foreign countries where they hope to realize their dreams. Some borrow money while others convince their parents to sell their properties to raise money for the air ticket. Others abandon their jobs on the assumption they will get highly paying jobs when they go abroad.

The statement issued on Friday indicates that the ban will remain in force until the conditions are deemed fitting. Minister Mukasa says the ban is in line with Parliament recommendation on banning the recruitment.

On 7th July 2015, the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development signed an agreement with its counterpart in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the employment of domestic workers from Uganda to Saudi Arabia.

In this agreement, both countries agreed on a standard employment contract which would govern the employment in Saudi Arabia of Ugandan domestic workers also referred to as household service workers.

Uganda expected that with the signing of the agreement, trafficking in persons to Saudi Arabia would stop.

“To our surprise we have continued to receive information of our people being subjected to inhuman treatment at the hands of the employers in Saudi Arabia” said minister Muruli. Workers Representative in Parliament Teopista Nabulya Ssentongo welcomes the ban saying it was long overdue.

Meanwhile Police on Friday arrested a Kenyan National, suspected of being involved in Human trafficking. Police apprehended Ms Khalima Abdalla who stays in Uganda after receiving complaints of mistreatment, sexual harassment, assault, denial of payment and abuse of those who had been taken under this company.

Polly Namaye the  Police deputy Media and Public relations officer stated Ms Abdalla used her company ‘Turkey Business Solutions’ in 2015 to recruit people for the benefit of employment in Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai and others, as housekeepers and cleaners.

She pointed out that together with others still at large, she was involved in acts of human trafficking, contrary to section 3(1) (a) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Acts 2009.

She said cases have been opened up under against her and she will be arraigned in court once police are finished with their investigations.

“Investigations are underway to ensure that these complainants and their relatives receive justice” said Namaye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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