Rabat – Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has suspended the licence of the Al Hazeem Manpower agency while it investigates a contest the agency held, advertising a chance to win a house maid, complete with “runaway” insurance.
After LMRA employees found the advertisement on the agency’s Facebook page, it was flagged for possible human trafficking and its licence was pulled pending an official investigation.
The contest had been held during Ramadan and had only one condition stipulated for the winner. According to The Independent, he or she had to have a work permit to employ a house maid. A statement for the regulatory body said, “we have already suspended the licence of the agency, pending investigations.”
As for Al Hazeem Manpower, the agency is claiming it did nothing wrong except use the “wrong wording,” saying they “immediately made the required changes.”
LMRA’s Chief executive, Ausamah Al Absi, has a dimmer view of the agency, saying they treat their worked as “commodities.” He also called their advertising “disrespectful” and “extremely offensive.”
Al Hazeem regularly runs offers on its Facebook page for domestic worker packages as low as BD499 (GBP 1,000). Prices include two years of so-called “runaway” insurance and some even offer a “return the maid” policy, in case the worker becomes ill.
Human rights workers have been calling for stricter protection for domestic workers in Bahrain for years. Workers are primarily from Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya.