A BBC News Arabic investigation team made an undercover about the online trading of domestic workers in the Gulf.
Mostly we hear from our distressed Filipino domestic workers that they are being abused physically or made them work for other family members which clearly violates the contract. During these complaints, we also hear some asking help for they are about to be sold to someone else and this appears to be absolutely true and in a scary way.
Online slave market
A BBC Arabic team made an investigation about domestic workers being sold online through applications approved by Apple and Google. In the investigation, the BBC Arabic team poses as husband and wife looking for domestic workers in Kuwait.
It was found out that an application called 4Sale is used to buy and sell domestic workers together with cars and TVs. And the team used this app to contact one of the sellers and had contacted a scary number of fifty-seven sellers online.
These sellers completely think that they own the domestic workers for reason that they are their sponsors. Some of them said that they don’t allow the workers to have a day-off, don’t give them their salary. And totally devalue domestic workers saying that they are uneducated.
This online trading doesn’t only happen in Kuwait but in Saudi also. Sellers’ use app called Haraj. The investigative team meets some of the sellers and one of them is actually a policeman who proudly breaks the law. Teaching the team to keep the passport of the domestic workers. Saying that it is the right thing to do because they are their sponsors.
But what surprises the team most is one of them is selling a 16-year-old domestic worker from Africa.
The team showed the footage to the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Urmila Bhoola, and Bhoola said that what the sellers’ doing is not only a complete violation of Kuwaiti law but also of international human rights and labor standards. She pressed Apple, Google, Facebook and other companies that are hosting apps like Al-Haraj and 4sale to be accountable.