The Philippines yesterday announced a “total lift” to a ban on sending local household workers to Kuwait.
Philippine labour minister, Silvestre Bello III, told Kuwait’s Al-Qabas that the ban was “lifted permanently,” adding that the decision was made in coordination with the country’s “foreign ministry and the Department of Labour and Employment.”
Bello’s remarks came during his meeting with Kuwait’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Khaled Al-Jarallah, and the Philippines’ Presidential Advisor on The Philippine’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Abdullah Mamao.
In January, the Philippine government imposed a ban on deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait following the killing of a household worker, called Jeanelyn Villavende, who was found to have been sexually abused and tortured by her employer. Villavende’s employers were later reported to have been arrested, while the agency that sent her to Kuwait was suspended, Bello earlier said.
Amnesty International has frequently warned of the systematic exploitation and abuse of migrant domestic workers across the Gulf. Migrant workers in the Gulf comprise around 90 per cent of the workforce, who remain tied to their employers under a sponsorship system in which their passports are confiscated.
Since 2015 Indonesia has banned housemaids working in the United Arab Emirates due to mass ill-treatment and exploitation.
There are currently 170,000 Filipinos in Kuwait. Kuwait continues to enjoy good relations with the Philippines socially, economically and culturally