Employer’s cruelty main cause of maids crime

Crimes committed by housemaids in Dubai increased by nearly 17 per cent in 2011 and police believe they were mainly driven by the employer’s cruelty and the worker’s ignorance of the region’s traditions.

“There are many steps that need to be taken to avert such crimes,” said Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, deputy director of Dubai’s detectives department.

“Employers should deal with their domestic workers in a human and civilized manner…they should provide them with their needs, including proper accommodation, food and clothing…they need to give their wages on time…nice treatment of the maids will surely curtail their negative feelings towards the family and prevent them from taking revenge because of bad treatment.”

In a report on maids’ crimes published in the Dubai-based Emirat Alyoum Arabic language daily, Jallaf said domestic workers could become criminals because of cruel treatment by their employers, adding that some of them could be pushed to take in on the children or mix urine or other dirty materials with family meals.

He said Dubai police have handled some cases involving maids placing their urine in foods and drinks served for their employing families.

“Cruelty to maids will eventually push them to retaliate…we have handled some situations where families overburden their maids with household work or deny their rights like depriving them from contacting their families at home or taking enough rest…the problem is that many families here have no idea about the traditions and culture of the maids’ home countries.”

Jallaf cited another main factor which is that most maids who are brought into the UAE are either not qualified or are not aware of the local habits and culture.

He blamed domestic servants hiring offices in the UAE and their home countries, adding that Dubai’s police have held several meetings with local offices to stress the need for them to educate maids on work needs and the country’s culture and traditions before sending them for the job. He also urged local families to send their housemaids to specialized institutes for training.

Jallaf’s figures showed 1,010 reported crimes were committed by domestic workers in Dubai last year compared with 862 in 2010.

He said 506 crimes, more than half the total, involved absconding offences while 108 were associated with sexual abuses. There were also 94 breach of trust cases and 48 thefts from employing houses.

The largest theft case involved a maid who stole Dh1.17 million from her female employer but she was later arrested and the sum retrieved.

A breakdown showed Asian domestic workers were the main culprits, mainly because they are the majority in Dubai, committing 583 offences. African maids were involved in 270 crimes and the rest were responsible for 157 crimes.

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