Bahrain MP calls for stricter measures against run-away domestic helpers

January 5, 2010

Mohammad Khalid claims that domestic helpers are often lured into joining hotel clubs

A Bahraini lawmaker has called for strict measures against domestic helpers who run away from their employers to work in hotels.

“According to the available figures, hundreds of housemaids abscond from the houses where they are supposed to work in order to join hotels and clubs. This is a dangerous phenomenon because it encourages debauchery and spells financial losses for employers,” Mohammad Khalid, MP for the Islamic Menbar, said at the lower chamber on Tuesday.

“I am afraid there is an organized team encouraging domestic helpers to run away in order to employ them as prostitutes amid promises of lucrative deals,” said the MP, one of the most vociferous lawmakers campaigning against the alleged spread of immoral activities in the country.

According to the MP, Ethiopians make up the majority of the absconding maids.

“There are 1,167 Ethiopian women who are now working in hotels after they left the places where they were initially supposed to work. The number is shocking and warrants a direct intervention from all competent authorities to put an end to it. We are grateful to the interior minister for the move to impose strict requirements before granting the visa to Ethiopians, but we need more efforts by other bodies, as well,” he said.

In April, Bahrain’s immigration authorities stopped issuing working visas to Ethiopian maids.

Last month, Al Asala, the Salafi formation with eight of the lower chamber’s 40 seats, said that the ban should also include Russian, Thai and Chinese women as part of efforts to combat immoral activities that included not allowing one and two-star hotels to sell alcohol to prevent them from turning into brothels and deporting alleged prostitutes.

Al Asala’s proposal was supported by the Islamist-dominated lower chamber, but MPs refused to stereotype nationalities, arguing that labelling should be avoided for diplomatic reasons.

Nationals from China, Thailand and Russia are granted two-week visit visas upon arrival at the airport while Ethiopians must apply for a visa in their home country.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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