Uganda has banned the recruitment and deployment of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia and other countries.
In a letter dated January 22, 2016, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Muruli Mukasa, said this decision was reached following review of working conditions.
This comes less than a year since Uganda and the Saudi Arabian Kingdom signed a bilateral agreement to export graduates to work as maids.
Muruli notes with surprise, the continued “inhuman treatment” suffered by Ugandans working in the kingdom at the hands of their employers.
The imposed ban will remain in force “until the conditions are deemed fit”.
In June 2015, it Uganda entered a bilateral arrangement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to export graduates to Middle East countries to work as maids.
The arrangement would also see other domestic workers such as like private drivers, shop keepers and security guards ‘exported’ to Saudi Arabia. Under it, all the workers were to receive health insurance and minimum wage of $200 (about Shs710,000).
A month after the deal was struck, media reports emerged that Ugandans were victims of mistreatment.
Cries of pain
Martha Leah Nangalama, a Ugandan based in Moncton Canada in her article titled :” the Ugandan government is participating in modern slavery”, chronicles cries of anguish by Ugandan girls who are sent to Asia for work but end up being used as prostitutes.
Saracen, she writes, is a Ugandan Security company which supplies Uganda’s as guards in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Saracen currently has around 600 Ugandans guarding the US Embassy in Iraq.
Listen to Audio of Ugandan girls crying out
Saracen sends young men to work 12hrs a day in the cold or heat to guard the embassy while surrounded by terrorists.
Triple Canopy is an American company but registered in Uganda.
This company also contracts to SOC LLC.
It has about 400 Ugandans in Iraq too.
Both companies do not allow the Ugandans to have their own bank accounts in US Dollars.
They must have Ugandan bank accounts OR else they are told to leave and return to Uganda.
This month when the Ugandans in both companies got their salary on Dec. 15, 2015, the contractors used the rate of sh.3200 on the dollar.
Also on the spot is SOC LLC a US company that contracts services from Uganda.
In the audio, Ugandan girls tell their stories of how they are forced into prostitution once they arrive in Asian countries.
In September last year, it emerged that Uganda had signed an agreement to send graduates to Malaysia as maids. [http://www.theinsider.ug/uganda-signed-deal-to-export-maids-sex-slaves-to-saudi-arabia/]
Story credit: Sarah Kagingo