9/04/2010

Frida Ghitis: Foreign Women Like Slaves In Saudi Arabia

An article in the Miami Herald by Frida Ghitis documents atrocities in Saudi Arabia against women who come into the country for employment. Although the article focuses on Saudi Arabia, similar stories are coming out of Jordan, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and Lebanon. The atrocities are allowed to flourish based on a broad interpretation of a Saudi system of jurisprudence called "Kafala", where the foreigners have virtually no recourse, and are treated more like property than as hired help. Unfortunately, this has happened even here in the United States, though not with the support of the U.S. Government. I recall a similar story from L.A. in which an Egyptian couple living here brought a young girl, also from Egypt, as a domestic helper and was kept in slave-like conditions, and included both physical and mental abuse. When the case came to light, the couple fled back to Egypt. This, and other stories like it, needs to be brought to a broader audience with political and diplomatic pressure be put on these countries that allow this to occur.
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