Distro - Kuwait's Abused Domestic Workers
There are approximately over 650,000 foreign domestic workers in Kuwait, mostly females from Southern Asia and Eastern Africa. Although Kuwaiti officials say the majority are treated well by their host families, a large number of domestic workers find themselves with few legal protections against employers that refuse to pay their salary, push them too hard, or abuse them physically or mentally.
Often destitute and with nowhere else to go, underground makeshift shelters for runaway domestic workers have sprung up in the basement of several embassies in Kuwait City, where they can seek refuge while waiting for repatriation to their country. This process can take months, and it is during Ramadan when Kuwaiti families stay up all night doubling the servants' workload, that the number of runaways seeking shelter is expected to increase. Already, in the Philippines Embassy more than 200 women live packed in a sweltering room, sleeping next to their luggage, four to five women on a single mattress.