Five signs to spot a maid about to abscond


In the weekly broadcast of Rouh Al Qanoon (spirit of the law) programme on Noor Dubai, lawyer Isa bin Haider lists five signs that can help you know if your maid is planning to abscond.

According to him, the five sure-shot signs are:
·         Frequent use of mobile phone
·         Going out of the house frequently without any apparent reason
·         Repeatedly claiming to be unwell
·         Buying travel bags while claiming that she is preparing for her annual leave
·         Meeting old and new friends during her weekly holiday

Last week’s programme was dedicated to the issue of absconding domestic workers.

Lt Col Khalaf Al Ghaith, Assistant Director General for Illegals and Foreigners’ Affairs to follow up on the offenders in Dubai was invited as a guest on the programme.

He disclosed that the department had charged some Emiratis with legally bringing foreign labourers into the country but leaving them to work illegally for other people, in return for cash.

Lt. Col Al Ghaith said: “The recent campaign which was conducted by the department led to the seizure of 254 people under the categories of assistants (maids, drivers and gardeners), including 17 males and 237 females.” He added that “69 cases were referred to the public prosecution."

Al Ghaith said: “Our investigations also led to the arrest of some other defendants who were involved in recruiting these servants despite them not being under their sponsorship, and in case of conviction, they will be fined Dh50,000.”

Meanwhile, Bin Haider reviewed a number of cases of violence and abuse against young children in the absence of their parents.

He attributed the cases of escaping domestic servants to three primary causes: abuse and humiliation by their employers on an ongoing basis, overload of work, and maids’ desire to increase their income by working illegally.

Lt Colonel Al Ghaith stressed: “The issue of absconding domestic workers is not a phenomenon but are individual cases,” and pointed out examples of househelps who have enjoyed excellent relationships with their sponsors for more than 20 years. He added, recently, the department also honoured one such family.

He disclosed there are many mechanisms adopted by the department to track defaulters. Community members are urged to inform the department of such cases. Also frequent raids by the department at usual places that house runaway maids and tracking posters and advertisements calling for domestic helps and scaning shopping centres also help keep a check on illegal maids. 

Lt Col Al Ghaith also called for the humanitarian treatment of domestic workers, and urged employers to not threaten them with ending their services in a way that may force them to abscond.

He confirmed that most workers borrow large amounts of money before comingto the UAE. Regarding the role of recruiting offices in their escape, Lt. Col. Al Ghaith said the department has clear records of such agencies and the Department of  Economic Development doesn’t renew the licence of 'offending' offices. 

In response to a question about the procedures which should be applied particularly after enabling maids to escape outside the UAE after stealing money and jewellery, Lt Col Al Ghaith urged all sponsors to immediately report such cases on the number 8005111. He added that the responsibility of the sponsors will be expired once they report absconding cases. 

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