*This is the story of a woman I will refer to as “Cathy”. This is not her real name. I am not sure what it really is. I spoke with her after work one day, while waiting for a taxi at a grocery store.
Cathy* was originally going to go from the Philippines to Canada for work. That was the plan, anyways. Instead, her cousin who was supposed to go to Kuwait for work as a maid was unable to go. So Cathy went instead. She took her cousin’s identity, in order to leave the country for work. Now, the Philippines has no work. Cathy has a Bachelor’s Degree. Yet, no jobs are available. Her prospects seemed to be better everywhere else.
After coming to Kuwait, the Agency appointed Cathy to a Kuwaiti family for household work. The Kuwaiti sponsor was a female; a Pediatric Doctor. This Doctor worked Cathy as a maid and as a Nurse’s Aid, but Cathy was to be paid 80 Kuwaiti Dinar a month salary (roughly $296 American Dollars a month). Cathy got up at 0300 to cook and care for the five children, and then send them to school. Then, she returned home. At 1000, Cathy went to work for the Pediatric Doctor as a Nurse’s Aid watching children in the waiting area. At 2300, Cathy returned home.
The Pediatrician did not allow Cathy to have a cellphone. The Doctor said that it was because she didn’t want Cathy to get a boyfriend in Kuwait. She said a cellphone meant that Cathy was fucking all sorts of men. Cathy said she needed a phone in order to contact her family in the Philippines, and that if the Doctor wanted, the phone could be linked to the Doctor’s (so that if she got a call or anything, the Doctor could see who it was from) in order to prove Cathy was not being immoral. The Doctor vehemently declined the idea. Cathy saved her money and bought a phone. When the Doctor found out, she confiscated the cellphone and accused Cathy of getting the phone from a guy (presumably one Cathy was sleeping with). Cathy argued that she bought it for herself, but it was to no avail.
After one year of this, which included the Doctor harassing Cathy because she felt Cathy was enticing her husband with her looks, yelling and humiliating Cathy in public in front of patients, and other verbal and public displays, (coupled with Cathy not being allowed to go outside of the home or work for anything), Cathy was tired. She said to her, “You promised that after one year or employment, you would give me a job [not confined to your home] in your clinic, and not stay with you in your house anymore.” In response, the Doctor said sarcastically, “Oh why do you want to go outside? Why do you want to stay outside [the home]? Why? Why? You want to fuck? You want a lot of guys? Get out of my house. Find another employer. My door is open.” After this, the employer packed Cathy’s clothing in front of Cathy, and personally escorted her outside(returning the cellphone she had confiscated) and shut the door. Cathy sat outside on the steps for a bit, thinking. She called a taxi when it went by, and drove away. Cathy called a friend, and the friend sent her to stay with an older Filipina woman working in Kuwait. Cathy stayed with this woman, trying to figure out what she ought to do next.
The older Filipina woman helped Cathy get a job as a saleslady. The Kuwaiti owner, however, refused to help sort out Cathy’s visa issues. Instead, he wanted her to continue working illegally under the table. Cathy quit, because she needed to be legal, and asked her friends to help her find a ‘good Kuwaiti employer’, who would fix her visa issues.
In the meantime, Cathy made American friends.
Finally, one of Cathy’s Filipina friends helped her get a job with a Kuwaiti Doctor. One of her American friends gave her 300 KWD in order to pay the new employer, so that he may fix her runaway status and release her from her former employer (the Pediatrician). The new employer said he paid the old one, and he did indeed receive Cathy’s passport from her [the Pediatrician]. He had Cathy work as a receptionist for him, and in the meantime informed Cathy that he would be holding onto her passport and visa. He promised to renew her visa under himself, get her 18 Visa and Civil I.D.
After a while, her new employer went under investigation and was jailed. After leaving jail, he disappeared along with her Passport. She does not know where he or it is; again she is at a loss as to what she ought to do.
Several times he has come into contact with a friend of hers, insisting, “In’sha’Allah, I will leave it with the clinic tomorrow,” and “In’sha’Allah, I will leave it with you (her friend) tomorrow.” Yet, he has not.
If Cathy goes to her Embassy, there is a 50-50 chance that she will be sold to Kuwaitis as a slave. There is a Filipina whom I had spoken with before, who went through something strangely almost identical- her employer was jailed, she lost her passport, went to the Embassy for a new one, and ended up being sold to Kuwaitis for 5 years. For what? I asked, even though I knew the answer. “For fuck, for clean, for cook, for dance, for anything.” was the answer. How did you get away? “I make American friend. He help me. I go back Philippines.” Why did you return? “Because no work, no job, no money, no nothing. Maybe this time different.” You know, I said, if someone from before sees you…you are screwed. She shrugged. “In’sha’Allah.”[if] God wills it.
This is the harsh reality of the Filipino expat in the Middle East. The men are nothing more than indentured servants, the women may be sex slaves. Their employers hold onto their passports and Civil I.D.’s most of the time, telling them only to call them if the police take them. The police stations also have a lot of women- mostly Asians- who are raped constantly by the jailors. It is no different for the various Indian races here, either. Hell, I even met Fijians who were tricked into coming here, only to work for 60 Kuwaiti Dinar a month (roughly $200 USD).
So, should she go to her Embassy and risk the chance she will be sold off? She is young and pretty. The odds don’t look good for her. If she went to the police station with her problems, the odds are through the roof that she would be thrown into jailed and the lining raped out of her. How can she get amnesty? She still risks getting raped in the jail [in between the time it takes for them to deport her].
This is a true story. The other story mentioned is also true.