"My Sleep is My Break" - Exploitation of Migrant Domestic Workers in Qatar
Research reports, working paper
More than half of all women migrant workers in Qatar are employed in private homes. Working as cleaners, child-minders or cooks, they make an important contribution to Qatar’s wider economy. Some domestic workers are respected and welcomed into families. However, abusive recruiters and employers who choose to exploit women face few constraints and many women find that promises of good salaries and working conditions are dashed on arrival in Qatar.
Qatar’s laws do not limit the number of hours a day or the number of days a week that domestic workers can be asked to work. Fifteen-hour days and seven-day weeks are not unusual. Some domestic workers are not paid for months on end; others are not paid at all.
At its worst extreme, the abuse of domestic workers can involve physical and sexual abuse. In some cases, their treatment can amount to forced labour and human trafficking. For women facing such brutal conditions, getting help is not easy: domestic workers told Amnesty International that their phones were confiscated and they were confined to the house. Women who leave the house without permission face the risk of arrest, detention and deportation if they are reported for “absconding” by their employer.
This Amnesty International report, based on interviews with migrant workers, government officials and others, examines the way in which domestic workers are failed by serious flaws in Qatar’s laws and policies. It ends with recommendations to the Qatari government on how to prevent abuses and ensure the human rights of migrant domestic workers