COSTS: A migrant worker’s family member complains at Sri Lanka’s for- eign employment bureau about alleged mistreatment of her relative abroad
SRI Lanka will gradually stop sending housemaids abroad, mainly to the Middle East, due to rights abuses, social costs and a local labour shortage, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said last Wednesday (1).
The country’s expatriate workers, mainly housemaids and unskilled labourers, send back remittances – the is- land nation’s main foreign exchange earner – that help earn around $7 billion (£4.8bn) a year for the $82.2bn (£56.4bn) economy.
Senaratne said president Maithripala Sirisena had appointed a committee to study strategies to reduce the numbers gradually and finally stop sen ding house- maids abroad.
“We want to discourage the house-maids category in foreign employment because the social cost is high,” he said.
Human rights abuses and social costs due to rapes, drug addiction and child abuse in many families of housemaids, and labour shortage locally, have prompted the government to take such a decision, he said.
The total number of foreign employment departures declined by 12.4 per cent last year to 263,307, partly due to the slowdown of economic activities in the Middle East.
In 2013, around 1,650 Sri Lankan housemaids complained of being physically and sexually abused by their employers mainly in the Middle East, the latest data from the Foreign Employment Bureau showed.