Plan on bringing your maid’s with you when you travel?
Is your maid a faithful maid who has been with you for many years? Are you going to the US, the UK or somewhere in Europe? And you want to this faithful maid of many years as a treat for her loyalty? Or you need to bring her along to help you with your young children or even yourself.
BEWARE – think about it carefully. Your maid may disappear and while that would be upsetting worse may come! You may be brought to court on slavery charges. You may have their passports with you under lock and key. That in itself is a cause for action against you – as proof of imprisonment and definitely slavery.
So okay back home you paid a certain amount as per contract. You may even have paid well because the maid has been with you a long while. But whatever your had paid in Ringgit will be compared to the minimum wage in the county you visit and believe you me, it will be seen as a mere pittance! Slavery it is then!
You may ask how on earth do they do it in the foreign country. The truth is simple – in most of these countries there are NGO’s professing to help such ‘slaves’. It is believed though these are groups who try to help their country man gain an opportunity to to stay and work in the country. Apparently some maids have contacts with them and plan their ‘rescue’ with the help of these NGO’s.
Fiction? I already know of 3 cases. In one case, a Cambodia maid of many years’ of service with her boss in Malaysia – was found missing the day after they arrived in the UK. Soon after someone contacted them to say they would be charged with slavery if they reported her disappearance. Another friend had a Filipina and she too disappeared the day after they checked into a hotel. She didn’t bother with any slavery charge. She obviously had her plans well laid out. Later a family friend found out that she then went on to help others whose bosses were planning to bring their maid’s overseas with them. We know of one case where the maid had been brought to work with the Malaysian family in the UK. She is a friend of this other maid who must have helped her, and true enough, after 6 months, she disappeared and later called to say that luckily she did not report her employers for slavery. In other words, don’t make a fuss about it.
The irony of it is that little do these maid’s realise they have not gained a better life. Yes the pay when converted into their currency is stupendous. But the cost of living is high and most of their pay is swallowed up by this. Yes they save because they are used to living frugally. But it is a miserable life and the future is quite grim. I offer here the story of a maid who used to work with me but got PR in the UK and is quite unhappy and unfulfilled. Natty has lived in the UK for more than 15 years. I met her recently and she had a woeful tale to tell. As with most Filipinas, most of her hard earned money went back home to raise her children. She was earning what was a lot in her currency – BUT her monthly salary was the minimum wage which was mandatory in the UK. This actually meant it was just enough to get by but it was a problem when she had to use most of it to send back home.
The other problem was she had to rent rooms which meant she had no record of her presence in the UK – and in the UK this means presence as certified or proven by utilities records in her name or at least an address to a place which was in her name. She had none of these. So she could not open bank accounts and worse, she could not get a regular job in shops or restaurants or supermarkets. She was condemned to baby sitting jobs and as she got older, care giver jobs for the elderly and terminally ill patients. The latter is never very easy because as in most cases when her clients died, she had to wait for a while to find another client. When I met her, she was dressed in a mixture of clothes she ‘inherited’ from some of her clients’ families. She lived off the food that the household had and in most cases that was not too regular or sufficient because the food needed for the client was essentially soft foods. Often she had to buy her own food and without a proper place to live, it meant that she could never really save by buying things in bulk. She had no savings to speak of and although almost 60 now, her faily still expected her to send funds back home. If you have a maid and if you plan to bring them with you overseas anyway, perhaps you can tell them this story. But the story may fall on deaf ears because there is always the lure of the pay which, compared to what they get in Malaysia, is a fortune. Few can look beyond that.