Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Ramadan Sparks Surge in Runaway Maid Cases

Ramadan Sparks Surge in Runaway Maid Cases

Publication: Riyadh Daily
Date: November 6, 2003
URL: http://www.riyadhdaily.com.sa/display_assay.php?id=38366


The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) of the Philippine Embassy is much busier these days than during the other months of the year.

"It's during Ramadan when POLO receives so many calls from dometic helpers (DHs) who have run away from their sponsors and are seeking to be rescued. So, we are taken up by taking instructions on how our drivers would pick them up to be brought to the Bahay Kalinga or OWWA Center," Labor Attache Jainal Rasul Jr. told Riyadh Daily on Monday.

Since Ramadan started on Oct. 27, some ten Filipino domestic helpers have sought sanctuary at the Bahay Kalinga, which is slightly more than the nine recorded during the same period last year.

"Ramadan is by tradition the month when Filipino domestic helpers escape from their sponsors. They choose to escape at this time because their sponsors are asleep during the day, during which they could contact the POLO staff and request for assistance. On ordinary months, many sponsors are normally strict and don't allow their maids to get out of the house," Rasul said. He added that one reason why DHs escape during Ramadan could also be due to pressure of work.

"During the day, the employers are asleep but the children are awake. So, naturally they have to look after them and provide whatever they need. At night, the children are asleep but that's the time when the adults are awake. So, naturally the maids have to tend to them and look after their needs," he said. He added that they sleep at about 4 a.m. and wake up at six.

Rasul said that POLO is also busy endorsing runaway DHs to the Center for Domestic Workers' Affairs (CDWA), formerly Saudi Social Welfare Administration.

"On Monday alone, we endorsed four. They are Lizaida Abdulhassan, Mrylin Santos, Nancy Pabico and Lolimar Dulce. Santos may not go home since she is willing to work with another sponsor while Dulce has requested to be given until Wednesday to decide whether she should go home or not," he said. .......

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