India Diaspora
Housemaids to be trained before emigration: Renuka Chowdhury
May 21, 2007 - 11:17:32 AM

New Delhi, May 21 - Indian women seeking employment abroad as housemaids or domestic workers will be given training in a first step to regulate their emigration and protect them from any kind of abuse, says Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury.

'We have already tied up with ITC Limited, a tobacco and hospitality major, and the Red Cross to train them up. Once that is stabilised, we will ensure that these women are accredited with the ministry as well as make sure that they remit money regularly in a provident fund account,' Chowdhury told IANS in an interview. 'That will help us track them.'

'My priority is to ensure that these women travelling to countries which come under the Emigration Clearance Required - are confident and are not exploited by agents and touts. They should not be travelling illegally.'

The government had recently restricted the grant of emigration clearance to women below 30 if they intended to seek employment as housemaids or domestic workers in any ECR country.

Almost 18 countries come under the ECR, including the Gulf nations -, Malaysia, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Brunei, Nigeria, Sudan and Libya.

'My trip to Kuwait recently was an eye-opener as I received many complaints regarding incidents of abuse of Indian low-paid women workers by their employers. I know many travel under economic compulsions,' said Chowdhury.

Many women apply for jobs as nurses and maids in these countries and usually belong to states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Having been promised jobs as maids or assistants in beauty parlours, many land up being exploited, with their passports taken away from them and often left to the mercy of agents and touts who have arranged their passage.

'I have also begun discussions with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and the ministry of external affairs to work out a credible and effective system,' said Chowdhury.

Many women who were left in the lurch after being told of lucrative employment have said they were unaware of what they were in for, especially after arriving on visitor's visa.

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