Government has halted, with immediate effect, the recruitment of young Ugandan girls to work as domestic maids in the Middle East. The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has also directed Uganda Veterans Development Limited, an external employment agency, to bring back home 132 girls working as maids in Iraq.
The directive follows a revelation by Ugandan guards working in Iraq of the widespread abuse of Ugandan housemaids. A few weeks ago a young lady presented herself to Parliament claiming that she was one of the abused housemaids. She said she was recruited to go to Iraq by Uganda Veterans Development. On arrival there she was enslaved and sexually abused.
Milton Turyasiima, the coordinator of the External Employment Unit at the Ministry of Labor, says government cannot guarantee the proper treatment of the housemaids because it is virtually impossible to monitor what happens in people's homes. He says that because of this, all girls employed as housemaids by Uganda Veterans Development Limited will be returned home to ensure their safety.
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So far six young women have returned home. 15 others are in the care of American forces in Iraq.
Turyasiima says he has met the management of Uganda Veterans Development Limited and passed on the directive from government. He says that in future government will sign agreements with countries where the 12 registered recruitment agencies work in order to ensure adequate working standards.
The director of Uganda Veterans Development Limited, Kabagambe Rubusha, says the contracts of the housemaids were cancelled after the news of the abuse was made known.
There are over 11,000 Ugandans working as guards and housemaids in Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Juba. They earn an average of 600 dollars every month. Last financial year they repatriated 143 billion shillings into the country.