Philippines bans first-time housemaids from working in Kuwait after murder case

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The Philippines has temporarily banned all first-time domestic helpers from working in Kuwait after the horrific murder of a house maid spurred nation-wide anger.

“In order to strengthen the protection of the rights of [Overseas Filipino Workers] in Kuwait, particularly workers who are most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, action on the applications of first-time agency-hire domestic workers bound for Kuwait is temporarily deferred effective immediately,” the Department of Migrant Workers said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The ban does not include workers who have already been employed in the country for years, according to Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople.

The body of 34-year-old Jullebee Ranara was found burnt with her skull smashed in the middle of Kuwait’s desert on January 21.

The Filipino domestic worker, whose autopsy revealed that she was pregnant at the time of her death, had reportedly told her family she was afraid of her employer’s 17-year-old son.

The young man was arrested on rape and murder charges, authorities said at the time.

“It is the utmost consideration of the Department to ensure the safety and well-being of workers with vulnerable occupations, particularly first-time domestic workers, and that they are properly protected while deployed at the jobsite,” Officer-in-Charge Maria Velasco-Allones said in the statement.

The temporary ban aims to “ensure that the proper monitoring and reporting mechanisms are strengthened, and a more efficient response system is established in Kuwait, especially in OFW welfare cases,” Velasco-Allones added.

The Philippines government has also recently suspended the accreditation of new recruitment agencies in Kuwait.

Ranara’s death is the latest in the spate of crimes against domestic workers in the Gulf country.

Around 268,000 Filipino workers are employed in Kuwait. According to data by the Department of Migrant Workers, there were more than 24,000 cases of violation and abuse against Filipino workers in 2022 alone.

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople had in January said that a team of officials would be traveling to Kuwait to investigate the rise of cases of abuse against Filipino workers, as well as to work with Kuwaiti officials to take preventative measures.

Sexual abuse and rape, human trafficking, labor contract violations and illegal terminations are among the common complaints of Filipinos, according to her.

Read more:

Over 100 Filipino maids leave Kuwait in under 4 days after housemaid’s brutal murder

Philippines to send delegation to Kuwait to probe labor abuses after recent killing

Man arrested for raping, burning pregnant Filipina expat in Kuwait

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