Sexual abuse is also common. Some employers are even sending their maids out as prostitutes:
RIYADH--The husband of a Sri Lankan housemaid working in Riyadh says that his wife has been a victim of sexual assault by at least one male member of the family she has been working for in the Kingdom.
He also claims she was being pimped “house to house” as a prostitute and her proceeds were taken from her.
The 30-year-old woman from Panadura district near Colombo came to the Kingdom on Aug. 29, 2009 to work in a Saudi household. The husband of the woman, Kamal, claims he went to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) about three months after his wife began working in Saudi Arabia to complain that she was being sexually assaulted by a son in the family.
“Since then no one has taken action to bring her home,” he said. “My wife has been molested by her employer’s son and has been subjected to various forms of torture.”
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh claims that it is unaware of this case, but that it would investigate.
A senior official from the SLBFE said the bureau receives several complaints daily from the next-of-kin of the domestic aides who are working abroad.
“We cannot come to direct conclusion without consulting both parties,” he said, indicating that he would request the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh to inquire into this matter.
The most common form of abuse of maids is wage theft and false imprisonment (prohibiting maids from leaving the premises or preventing them from leaving when they express a desire to leave), but incidences of physical and sexual abuse are regularly reported.
The problem of runaway maids is big enough that the missions of labor-remitting countries run shelters for these women.
There are some 500,000 Sri Lankan workers in the Kingdom and more than half of them are housemaids, and the embassy official said most of these maids are treated in a satisfactory manner. (Source)