Justice

Outrage After Employer Films Maid's Fall from Seventh Floor

A Kuwaiti woman is in custody after posting a Snapchat video of her housemaid hanging and falling from a seventh story window — and  landing on a metal awning beneath.

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The video shows the Ethiopian woman hanging out of the window, yelling for help. The woman screams, “hold me, hold me," to which her employer responds" “Oh, crazy, come back,” according to The New Arab.

The woman survived the fall with a broken arm, nose, and ear bleeding, and is being treated for her injuries, according to reports. It's unclear why the woman was hanging from the window.

 

The 12-second Snapchat video has gone viral, and sparked global outrage over the treatment of domestic laborers, particularly in the Middle East. The Kuwait Society for Human Rights has called for a formal court investigation.

Kuwait is home to over 660,000 domestic workers, a mainstay in many Kuwaiti households. Unfortunately, legal protections for domestic workers are weak in many Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and abuse often goes unreported.

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Domestic workers predominantly travel from Asian and African countries, and embassies from these home nations received over 10,000 reports of sexual, physical and psychological abuse along with labor abuses, including excessive work days and withholding of payment, according to Human Rights Watch.

In 2015 Kuwait passed legislation to curb these abuses by mandating enforceable labor rights, including a weekly day off, paid leave, a minimum wage, and a maximum 12 hour workday with breaks. However, watchdog groups have criticized the nation’s undemocratic government for failing to enforce the law.

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