This Arab Celebrity Is Being Called Out For Saying Domestic Workers Shouldn’t Get A Day Off

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The Kafala system is used to monitor workers, mostly laborers or domestic help, in countries including Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Iraq, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. One of the most notorious parts of Kafala is the understanding that employers confiscate the worker’s passport.

In 2015, workers in Kuwait were finally given some protections, with the country’s national assembly passing a law requiring employers to give them one day off a week, 30 days of annual paid leave, and other basic employment rights, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report from the same year. In 2016 and 2017, the government passed legislation attempting to ensure a basic minimum wage for household workers. The most recent HRW report on Kuwait noted, “Migrant workers remain vulnerable to abuse, forced labor, and deportation for minor infractions including traffic violations and ‘absconding’ from an employer.”

In Kuwait, there are an estimated 600,000 domestic workers — mostly women from Asian or African nations and often from the Philippines. These workers are often abused. According to a monitoring group, roughly 120 Filipino workers died last year, with the majority recorded as suicides.

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