Abuse Of Maids In Jordan On The Rise

Away from the worker abuse in Jordan’s Qualified Industrial Zone’s that have made enough waves this year to force government action, there is the abuse of domestic workers i.e. maids. Considering our economy, resources and social make up, why some people in Jordan feel the need to even have maids is just beyond me. A recent report shows that this past year 10 have committed suicide. According the Ministry of Labor there are over 38,000, of which some 18,000 are Indonesians, 11,000 Filipinas, 8,000 Sri Lankans, 350 Egyptians and 350 from other nationalities. These are of course the one’s who are registered and the Ministry claims there are as many as 60,000 illegal domestic workers.

In addition to a nationwide campaign the latest government policy has been to force recruitment agencies must have the approval of the concerned embassy before applying for an entry visa. In the past few years we read about many of these agencies being shut down every now and then. In reality there is little the government can do from a public policy standpoint beyond managing restrictions through embassies and wasting a lot of time, energy and funds on investigating complaints; perhaps even fining households. The problem essentially lies within these households. Who is it exactly that can afford to employ a domestic worker?

It’s strange that hardly anyone in Amman seems aware of worker abuse in the QIZ’s or factories outside the city but everyone seems to know of a maid who was abused in some way or another. It’s also (not so) strange that despite all this the maid’s choose to stay.

I know my normal inclination would be to say: if they can afford it then there shouldn’t be any restrictions, but with some issues like this one that have become a political, social and economical problem, I can’t help but want to see these workers shipped home and for the people to do their own (dirty) work. Honestly, the concept of having people in a poor country bring in people from an even poorer country to do their laundry is backwards. Not to mention this new generation of upper class kids that speak Siri Lanki.

In October, Jennifer Perez, 20, a domestic helper from the Philippines, died from her injuries after she was thrown out of a balcony by her female employer. According to the employer, who is free on bail, Perez “fell from the balcony” after the two women fought over a mobile phone that belonged to the victim.


  • Hi,
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    Georgia Institute of Technology

  • I just want to write something to get it out of my head!!!
    My first experience with a girl ( so far I didnt even like to reduce them to a MAID) from the philipines. began, when I needed help (for the first time of my life) after my baby was born and I neened to go back to work. I seriosly thought, that that really nice girl is like a part of my family. And all the opinions from the local peiple here in jordan are just made up, or really taff… I know better…
    I was naiv, and her REALLY nice face, her jokes and the trust she seem to give…. I paid her 400 JD in the month, and she worked for 42 hours a week. Help in my house and help with the baby….
    Then I started to miss money!!!!! I didnt say OR THOUGHT it was her. Never!!! HOW COULD SHE???
    I blamed myself, to be honest… even my very best friend!!!!!!! But not her. She got my trust to look after my baby, and I BLAME HER STEALING??? NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BUT, the me and my husband continued missing money, cellphone and several other items. And I still didnd imagine….. One day, I misses 240 JD I asked her if she MIGHT know something……
    SCHE IMIDIATELY LEFT MY HOUSE!!! sayning it wasnt her and I should contact the police…
    After one week she came back to ask for her outstanding salary on 3 days!!! ok, part one. I started to mistrust, the people who I thought are sooo nice. Stupid and naiv me!!!! I was blind and now I am getting angry! I tried to UNDERSTAND…POOR PEOPLE…
    Second Filipina, older lady, I started like the previos one, after one week with her, letting her al;one for an hour with the baby. I was sooo nervous, I checked on the baby MANY MANY times more than before and I lokked everything away (still thinking, HOW i lock my things and trust her with baby….)
    She also was soo nice, and I was really nice too. 300jd for part time, and always polite. Most of the time I let her go earlier, cause it was all nice.
    Then, I stared to miss my loved golden necklace. …. I thought : NO, p[lease, please not again!!! But then I thought,, FUCK IT, my own fauld, and maybe I lost it. but I kept my eyes open. I wrote every single JD I used down. THEN I MISSED 175 JD!!!! ok, enogh…. I was crying…. not for the money, I cried cause I was sooo angry. I didnt want to understand nomore. I didnt want to feel sorry for myself beeing so silly. I didnt want her to go without a blame!!! I went to the police, and one guy came staight to my house and gave her a good talk. She gave back the money, cause she was told she will get big trouble… And I was sick to her AGAIN: “I swear to god it wasn”t me” I was really sick of listening to the same bullshit again.
    The police guy connacted me to ANOTHER girl, and said she really would be soo good and honest… I KICKED HER OUT AFTER ONE WEEK!!! I DO NOT TRUST THEM AT ALL ANIMORE!!!!! I HATE HOW THEY TRY TO MAKE ME BELIVE<THAT THEIR BREVIOUS FAMILY LEFT THE COUNTRY.
    I hate how i learned the lesson to be taff and hard to them. But this is what they NEED AND ASK FOR!!!

    I was naiv and sweet. NOW I AM THOUGHTFUL AND HARD. Good, thanks maids, and if i ever notice something missing or anithing ANITHING ELSE…… THE NEXT ONE DOESNT GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Two Piasters: