Domestic Workers: Major Culprits of Child Abuse in UAE

Dubai is host to large numbers of migrant domestic workers. According to 2014 data, there were about 146,000 migrant domestic workers in the UAE and majority of them were from Africa and Asia.

While domestic workers in the UAE face severe discrimination at the hands of their employers and also suffer from different kinds of violence and abuse, domestic workers are also culprits of several crimes, the most important of which is ‘child abuse’.

Emirates 24/7 reported a 17 % increase in crimes committed by domestic workers in UAE, in 2011. Several cases of child abuse have been reported where the housemaids beat and attack children as ways to discipline and control them.

The worst incident of child abuse by a maid

The worst case of child abuse at the hands of domestic worker was reported in July 2016 when a 9 month old baby named Salama Al Mazmi was admitted to the Al Qasimi Hospital in a serious condition. Dr Satish Krishnan, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, told that the baby was severely injured and unconscious when she was brought to the hospital. She had suffered serious brain damage, skull fracture, skull swelling and her ribs were also broken. Salama also had difficulty in breathing and CT scan and other tests also showed a blood clot in her brain that, according to doctors, was the result of an old injury.

There was bleeding in her brain as well and in order to stop the bleeding, doctors did a very delicate brain surgery.

Due to her extremely serious condition, she was put on a ventilator and life support system. Bay Salama fought for two weeks for her life but could not survive and succumbed to death on Wednesday, 27th July 2016.   

The Indonesian maid of the child was found guilty after the interrogations and she also confessed her crime after which she was arrested and transferred to the public prosecution.

This shows the level of risk and danger children in UAE are exposed to, when left with domestic workers. There is a strong need that parents always keep a check upon domestic staff and never leave their children completely upon them. In addition to being subjected to violence, children are also reported to be sexually abused by domestic workers. Any form of abuse, whether it is physical, sexual, psychological and/ or verbal, could leave serious negative impacts on a child’s psychology. Therefore, special care needs to be taken when hiring maids to look after you children and keep checking them to make sure you child is not subjected to any kind of violence. Do notice your child’s behavior and if you find any sudden change, look for its causes and keep checking upon the child when left with a domestic worker.