Police warned on Monday that not paying domestic helpers on time could lead them to commit serious crimes.
The warning came during a press conference at Dubai Police’s headquarters to launch a one-month awareness campaign on crimes committed by domestic helpers and against them. Almost 4,000 crimes have been committed by domestic helpers in Dubai in the past three years, according to a senior police official.
Colonel Dr Mohammad Naser Abdul Razzaq, Acting Director of Dubai Police’s Criminal and Investigation Department (CID), said the crimes committed by domestic helpers ranged from absconding, adultery and theft.
He said the aim of this campaign is to raise awareness in both Emirati and expatriate households to deal with domestic helpers in a humanitarian way. He added pressurising domestic helpers with too much work, not paying them or delaying paying them are the main reasons why domestic workers commit crimes.
The campaign has the slogan ‘Domestic Helpers, Care and Accusations’.
He said the targeted category in this campaign are housemaids, nannies, cooks, drivers and farmers because they are close to the families they work with and they share their lives with them.
He said domestic helpers play a significant role in many family’s lives as they may raise children and cook meals and they should be treated with care and kindness.
“One of the main reasons domestic helpers commit crime is because they are not paid their salaries on time,” he said.
He said domestic helpers come from poor families and rely on their wages.
“This one-month campaign will continue until July 17 in cooperation with the community service department at Dubai Police, Dubai General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the Community Development Department and Women Association,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Al Merri, director of the CID’s investigation section, said some families allowed domestic helpers to meet with strangers who may encourage them to run away and sometimes they fall into the hands of people who force them into prostitution.
He said housemaid must also live in the family’s house.
“Keeping her housed in a separate area will encourage her to have sexual relations with the driver or the farmer in the house and police have recorded many cases of adultery between housemaids and other male workers in the same house or sometimes with a boyfriend whom she allowed to enter the sponsor’s house at night,” he said.
Colonel Ahmad Thani Bin Ghulaita, Director of Crime Prevention at the CID, said absconding topped the list of crimes committed by this category and that mainly happened due to mistreatment.
He said cases regarding the abuse of sponsor’s children by domestic helpers was also reported to police.
“Parents need to be alerted to such crimes because small children cannot talk or say anything if they are abused,” he said.
“There are some cases also reported against sponsors who have tortured and mistreated their domestic helpers,” he said.
Colonel Abdul Razzaq said in 2012 some 1,258 crimes were reported to police against domestic helpers compared with 1,395 crimes in 2011 while in 2010 the number of crimes committed by domestic workers were 1,276.