Videos making rounds on social media show Sierra Leonean female domestic worker  physically assaulted by their Kuwaitee male employers. 

The video  portrays two Kuwaiti men manhandling a Sierra Leonean lady who was shouting for help.

Women from Sierra Leone formerly employed as domestic workers in private Kuwaiti households said they had been “sold like slaves” by recruitment agents to families in the Kuwaiti capital and then resold multiple times.

Each said that they had paid about £1,000 ($1,480) to recruitment agents in Sierra Leone on the promise of jobs as nurses in hospitals or in the hotel industry, only to find on arrival that they were to be offered to families as housemaids and expected to work for up to 22 hours a day.


Thousands of women travel to Kuwait every year to work. Workers come from across Asia but also, increasingly, from Africa, with women being recruited by agents in countries such as Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Once employed as domestic workers in Kuwait, women find it difficult to leave if they suffer abuse. Under Kuwait’s kafala sponsorship system, domestic workers are not allowed to leave or change jobs without their employer’s permission.

With their residency status also tied to their employer, if they run away they become “illegal”. Once in Kuwait, women often completely disappear from view. Isolated in private households and excluded from Kuwait’s labour rights legislation, they are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Once in their place of work, many remain hidden behind the closed doors of the vast tan-coloured mansions in the city’s wealthy residential areas. One long-term resident, who didn’t want to be named, said that workers are effectively abandoned once placed with employers.

“The recruitment agents never check on their domestic workers; whether they get food, are able to talk to their family or get a day off,” he said. “They have already got their money, so they never check.”

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