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Nov 16,2007
Report: Little help for Sri Lanka migrants
by UPI

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Women from Sri Lanka who work as servants in the Middle East are exploited by labor agents and then by their employers, Human Rights Watch said.

In a report, the group said Sri Lanka provides less protection for its citizens who seek work abroad than countries like The Philippines. The countries where most find jobs provide little protection for migrant domestic workers.

"Exported and Exposed: Abuses Against Sri Lankan Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates" was released Wednesday. The report was based on 170 interviews with domestic workers, recruitment agents and government officials.

Human Rights Watch called on the government of Sri Lanka to do more to protect its citizens, and on Middle Eastern countries to end double standards in their labor laws.

One woman described being ordered to get up at 5:30 a.m. even if she had been working until 1 a.m. or later.

"Once, I told the employer, 'I am a human like you and I need an hour to rest.'" the woman said. "She told me, 'You have come to work; you are like my shoes, and you have to work tirelessly.'"


© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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