Slavery & Abuse - Modern Day Realities for Maid
“At her death, the 19-year-old girl - who was 50 kg when she arrived in Singapore - weighed only 36 kg and had more than 200 injuries on her body.”(Lee, para. 3) The evolution of domestic workers in Singapore dates back to the mui tsai, migrant girls from China in the early 1890s who were the virtual slaves of the rich families. They worked from dawn to dusk and into the wee hours of the morning. However, the number of foreign domestic workers started to grow only in the 1970s, a result perhaps of the economic boom then, and the desire for more leisure. The number continued to rise rapidly. In 2005, there were more than 140,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore.(Chew, pg. 152) It may seem that maids working in a first world country like Singapore, has it easy off, compared to those working in second world countries, but there is a hidden claw that scars maids in this roaring Lion City. Some may say that maid abuse is not a widespread problem and that the irresponsible reporting of maid abuse by the local papers and television is the problem. On the other hand, others believe that maid abuse still remains a widespread problem.(Singaporean, para. 12) Singapore maids undergo the risk of being abused due to financial and educational circumstances for their family, leaving them with psychological effects during and after abusive treatment. Foreign Domestic Workers come to Singapore in search for a job, without the protection of the Singapore government, to get them out of a poverty stricken life they have back in their hometown. They earn money to be able to build a home and be able to afford a decent education and keep their children sufficiently fed and clothed. However, the cost of this may lead to a permanent psychological trauma caused by employers, which follows them for the rest of their lives after their contract is up, if they do not commit suicide. These abusers come from all walks of life: A school teacher had forced her maid to eat her
Bibliography: Chew, Kim Whatt. Foreign Maids: the Complete Handbook for Employers and Maid Agencies. Singapore: SNP International, 2004. Print. This source gives a good background to the situation at hand, with the history of migrant workers. And consists of the problem of the government’s lack of intervention into the situation. I will use this in my introductory paragraph to give an insight to the background and later in the background portion of the paper, and later use in part of the description. Chong, Elena. "Jailed for Maid Abuse." VR-Zone. 13 Mar. 2009. Web. 11 Sept. 2010. . This article shows that even a person holding a well respected job, air force staff sergeant, would abuse his maid, by depriving her of sleep and then beating her when she falls asleep. I will use this as one of my shocking examples at the end of my introduction.