Migrant Women Face Debt Burden and Exploitation
(Singapore, December 7, 2005) – Women migrant domestic workers in Singapore suffer grave abuses including physical and sexual violence, food deprivation, and confinement in the workplace, said Human Rights Watch in a new report released today.
At least 147 migrant domestic workers have died from workplace accidents or suicide since 1999, most by jumping or falling from residential buildings. Migrant domestic workers earn half the wages of Singaporean workers in similar occupations, such as cleaners or gardeners. Unpaid wages is a growing complaint.
"Many domestic workers labor without pay for months to settle debts to employment agencies, work long hours seven days a week, or are confined to their workplace,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Singapore’s refusal to extend ordinary labor protections to domestic workers is leaving them open to abuse.”
The 124-page report, “Maid to Order: Ending Abuses against Migrant Domestic Workers in Singapore,” is based on more than one hundred in-depth interviews with domestic workers, government officials, and employment agents. It details a range of abuses endured by domestic workers in Singapore and the response of the Singaporean government.
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