GBOLAHAN Samuel MORONFOLU
INSTANCES OF ABUSE AGAINST DOMESTIC WORKER
EXAMPLE: Twice I lost consciousness as a result of the beatings. The first time it was raining and there was a leak in the house and I forgot to put a bowl out [to catch the water]. She hit me with a mop. The second time, when I washed the clothes, the color changed and the employer hit me. I said I was sorry and that I would return the cost by deducting it from my salary, but she still hit me. She never sent me to see a doctor or to the hospital. Once I was a hit by a wooden stick and she hit me until the stick broke. When I woke up late, after 5 a.m., the employer would pour hot water on me, like if I woke up at 6 a.m.
Women and girls employed as domestic workers around the world face an appalling array of abuses. The most serious criminal offenses perpetrated against domestic workers include physical, psychological and sexual abuse; food deprivation; forced confinement; and trafficking into forced labor.
Employers who abuse their domestic workers often enjoy impunity. Many factors militate against domestic workers reporting abuse, including restrictions on their movements and lack of awareness about their rights. Yet governments have by and large failed to take steps to address these barriers, for example by launching campaigns to raise awareness and instituting accessible reporting mechanisms, and actively prosecuting abusive employers. When domestic workers do report criminal abuse, police often dismiss their claims due to difficulty of gathering evidence of abuses committed in private households poses challenges to effective prosecution.
TYPES OF ABUSE ON DOMESTIC WORKERS
• Physical Abuse.
• Sexual Abuse.
• Emotional Abuse & Intimidation.
• Verbal Abuse: Coercion, Threats, & Blame.
• Using Male Privilege.
• Economic Abuse.
RISK ASSOCIATED WITH EMPLOYING DOMESTIC WORKERS
• Theft of valuables
• Maltreatment of children under their care
• Exposure of homes to criminals or giving vital information to criminals
• Poisoning food & drinks of employers and family members
• Initiating, employer’s family members into witch craft or secret spiritual cult or other domineering spirits.
• Abandonment of duty without notification
• Absconding from home without recourse to the terms of employment with employers.
• Pilfering/Theft of valuables from the employee’s home.
Instances include a situation where a domestic servant informed her employer took permission to see her parent at home, the employer suspected sudden decision of the domestic staff to travel. They suspected something was amiss and had to send for a security expert to join them in conducting search on her, at the end of the search it was shocking to the employer that the sum of fifty thousand naira stolen from their wardrobe by the domestic staff was recovered from her pant.
Secondly was a case where the domestic staff that the employer had already fixed in a place where she was learning the skill of fashion designer in addition to her domestic job. She suddenly disappeared from her employer’s house to an unknown destination. Consequently, the parent of the domestic staff alleged that the employer that the employer had used her daughter for money rituals. The case was reported in one of the state police CID, the Police went into investigation only to discover later that the domestic staff has ran to her former boss house. The parent of the maid who accused the employer was now the one begging the employer to forgive them for their wrongful allegations etc.
• Improve their standard of living such as an increase in the minimum wage
• Listening to their problems and attend to them
• They must have a good relationship between households and domestic workers
• Allow them to face their work and reduce hours of time spend
• Creating time or off-duty
• Avoid sexual harassment from anyone
• Help to improve in educational status
• Good medical attentions etc…….
• Conduct serious physical background checks before granting employment not such archaic background check given to consultants as it is common this days
• There must be concise terms of agreement between the employer and the domestic servants and their referrals
• Installing a local CCTV camera in the house to monitor the activities of domestic servants
• Limiting the access of visitors to the house and discouraging domestic servant from working in the employer’s room without adequate monitoring
• Employers are not to live carelessly no matter their task schedule of duty of business
Employer’s are to ensure adequate verification exercise is conducted on the domestic servant before the employment
Finally quote “Happiness has many roots, but none more Important than security”. Since employers requested the services of the domestic servants to guarantee comfort, easy life and happiness for themselves and their family members, there is need for them to understand that their security to a large extent rest in the hands of their domestic workers and should do all that is possible to maintain good working relationship with them so as to guarantee security of lives of their family members.
However, there is a saying that no matter how you clean a pig, the pig must definitely go to the mud, the employer should ensure they work in consonance with the referrals and the terms of agreement of the job description and ensure they are guided with the report from the background check conducted on the domestic servant.
*Moronfolu is a seasoned security consultant with many years of security and policing experience. FELLOW, Fourth Estate Professional Society (FFPS), he has also partaken in peace keeping operations within and outside the country and has flair for general security education.