Sunday, October 4, 2015

Threats and emotional abuse 3/3

Many MDWs were threatened with physical violence and even death. They were also threatened with incarceration and denunciation to the police in cases where the employers had not processed the proper residency documents for the workers. Some were threatened with deportation to their country of origin, while they needed to continue working in order to pay back the debt they had accumulated due to the high migration costs, or in order to support their families, teach their kids, or provide medical care for sick family members with their income. Not only would employers threaten to withhold wages, but some would actually go through with these threats. Many employers would threaten to beat the workers or cut off their communication with their families. Some would actually beat them if they asked for better working conditions.
The survey showed that 46% of the MDWs were threatened with one or more of the following:
- Physical or sexual violence: 67%
- Denunciation to the police: 82%
- Returning them to the placement agency: 62%
- Withholding of wages: 51%
- Deportation back home: 11%
- Denial of food and basic needs: 9%
- Denial of communication with families and days off: 2%
- Other threats, such as locking them in the house and taking back wages that have already been paid: 9%
The workers were threatened by the employers or their employers’ family members as well as by the
owners and employees of the placement agency. Sixty-two percent of the workers reported being verbally abused by the employer’s family members or by placement agency staff. Not one worker was spared shouting, insults, or verbal slurs, which are a type of psychological abuse. The emotional abuse was intended to force the migrant workers to work and to make them pick and choose between their rights, thus subjecting them to the mercy of the employer when asking for their rights.

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