“Thousands of Ethiopian women particularity girls are leaving for abroad due to a number of pushing and pulling factors,” began the editorial published on Friday.
“A number of youngsters are deprived of human and democratic rights and dehumanized in the Arab world. Their life is thus being threatened by various unendurable critical problems. They are being raped, humiliated and physically injured most of the time by the parties — brokers and employees abroad. Worse even, they return home dead,” it added.
The article argued that unnamed, shady and often illegal “brokers” convince women and girls in the country to leave Ethiopia in the search of a better life abroad, in the Middle East and elsewhere.
“The majority of such illegal brokers attack these girls in many ways. They take their money, beat, rape and intimidate them,” the editorial continued.
“Surprisingly, the brokers do not know where their fellow citizens, innocent girls go. As a result, the trafficked ones could hardly be well informed about what they would encounter abroad. That is why they are forced to face ups and downs in the destinations. They are being abused and enslaved in various ways.
“The most saddening issue in this regard is that Ethiopian girls’ salary is nine times lower than that of housemaids from other nations. Above all, the meager salary is not given to them on time, or it would go to the extent being totally ignored, following their illegal entrance,” the editorial argued in a rare look and criticism of the government’s need to implement new strategies to help eradicate human trafficking of women in the country.
They called for an increase in policing of human trafficking and coordination with other countries in order to tackle the problem facing women and girls.
In late July, Addis Ababa barred Ethiopian woman from moving to the Gulf to work as domestic workers after numerous reports of sexual abuse and labor disputes had been reported.
The Ethiopian labor community has praised the move, saying it is needed until the UAE establish regulations and oversight of foreign workers in the country, who many argue face hardships, abuse and assault while in the country.
The Ethiopian government said they have received repeated reports that there has been abuse of citizens rights by some employers in the UAE.
Amare Abrha, a member of the Ethiopian community in Dubai, told 7DaysDubai.com that the move taken by the government was positive.
“It is long overdue but, nevertheless, we hope it will reduce the suffering housemaids are subjected to, both mentally and physically.
“Any agreement signed with the UAE should address the need to increase minimum wages and also shelter workers from abuse,” Abrha argued.
One woman, a domestic worker in Abu Dhabi for the past 7 years, told Bikyamasr.com that further discussions are needed to protect Ethiopians already living in the country.
“I know at least two women who have been sexually assaulted, one of them raped, by their employer here, but there is nothing they can do because their bosses have their passports,” she told Bikyamasr.com, asking for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the comments.
For many domestic workers, life in the UAE can be positive and negative, but across the board, there seems to be consensus to develop an understanding and regulations for workers in the country.
** Sharifa Ghanem contributed to this report in Dubai.