April 20, 2018
According to SIHA’s research (Caught between Poverty and Trauma), the discrepancies between the expectations of women and girls from rural Ethiopia, and the harsh reality in the Middle East and Arab Gulf countries could, however, not be further apart. While those women who are trafficked, smuggled or migrated consciously are focusing on the end result of their migration, and the possible economic elevation, they lack substantial information on the realities abroad including the nature and type of labour awaiting them, and/or cultural rules and traditions that will govern their day-to-day experiences. On the other hand, the status of women in general in the Middle East and Gulf countries has been subject to discriminatory customs and laws which encourage women’s subordination. Within this context, African women domestic workers who lay at the bottom of the workers’ hierarchy are exposed to violence and layers of subordination. Their employment sphere in a concealed space within the homes and their contract terms are in the hands of unpitying employers, and the smugglers and traffickers who control their financial freedom, generating regular fees off their wages. All this, results in most women and girls finding the reality extremely grim while facing culture shock, racial and religious discrimination, as well as long and tedious working hours with inadequate or no breaks.
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