Plight of a Sri Lankan maid

The Jordan Times reports on the case of Ishara Hemanthi, a 23-year-old Sri Lankan domestic worker in Amman:

"They would whip me with a phone cord or a water nozzle, and sometimes would pull my hair if I did not finish the tasks they had set for me during the day," she said, adding that she wanted to escape to the [Sri Lankan] embassy a long time ago but her employer threatened to report her to the police for robbery if she did so.

"At first they were very nice to me, although they didn't pay the salary that we had agreed upon in the work contract. Four months later, however, things started to change and I have not been paid my salary for the past eight months," she said, adding she was not given a weekly day off or allowed to call her family.

Jordanian police took little interest in her complaints against her employer, even though she had to be treated in hospital for "severe bruising and swelling all over her body". However, a counter-claim by her employer, alleging theft and sexual abuse of a seven-year-old girl, resulted in Hemanthi spending 12 days in prison before being released on bail. The legal battle continues.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 14 January 2010.