via Yahoo! News:
Hani was rescued from her employers’ home a week ago. She was found by another Indonesian cleaner hired to replace her who noticed a foul smell coming from a locked bathroom.
Police said that when she was found she was tied up around her arms and legs, and was bruised all over her body. Among her injuries were a serious wound to the right leg that exposed the bone.
Local papers reported Hani had been abused by her employers almost daily during the two months she worked at their home.
One of Asia’s largest importers of labour, Malaysia depends heavily on domestic workers, mainly from Indonesia, but has been criticised for not passing legislation to govern their rights and conditions.
In May, the government announced plans for new laws to protect domestic workers from sexual harassment, non-payment of wages and poor working conditions.
Indonesian maids typically work seven days a week for as little as 400 ringgit (113 dollars) a month.
I hadn’t had much exposure to the practice of having hired help in the home until moving to Singapore. It’s apparently a very common practice in Asia, which surprised me. In the United States it would be nearly impossible for the average person to afford hired help, but in Asia even middle-income families can generally afford a maid. The reason for that is that the wages paid to these domestic helpers is very small in comparison to ‘normal’ wages made in the country where they work.
From what I’ve seen in the admittedly short time I’ve been in Asia, people rely on their domestic helpers to care for their homes and even their children in some cases. They work long hours, often 7 days per week depending on the employer. So, why is it that there’s no legislation to protect them? Why is it that they’re paid a wage that’s so small local children would reject it from a part-time job?
These women leave their homes in search of a better life and are often used as the butt of a joke, or abused, sometimes sexually. Then there is the rare occasion where a domestic helper is beaten to death, or commits suicide. It’s disgusting.
Sometimes it’s not possible for these women to pick up and leave and go back home. How could they if they’re paid so little they can’t afford the ticket? Or if their wages are being withheld? Or if they’re locked in the house and not allowed out?