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Ministry shuts down office of alleged abuser of domestic helper

By Rana Husseini - Dec 09,2015 - Last updated at Dec 09,2015

AMMAN — The Ministry of Labour on Wednesday decided to indefinitely shut down the office that employed a man who was allegedly seen abusing a domestic helper in a video that went viral.

“We decided to close down the office after it was proven to us that one of its employees was captured in a video abusing a Bangladeshi domestic helper,” Labour Ministry Secretary General Hamadah Abu Nijmeh said.

Abu Nijmeh stressed that the ministry was abiding by the law that allows it “to close down any office that violates the rights of domestic workers regardless whether the employer or the employee” is to blame.

The ministry official said the law stipulates closing down any violating office for a maximum of one year until further notice.

He told The Jordan Times that the suspect was referred to the judicial authorities on charges of human trafficking.

The suspect confessed to abusing the domestic helper, according to a statement released by the Labour Ministry.

The office’s licence will be terminated if the suspect is convicted of human trafficking charges, the statement said.

The statement added that the victim also gave testimony and was referred to a government centre for physical and psychological assistance.

She was able to positively identify the man as the individual in the video that abused her.

“It is up to her if she plans to stay or leave the country.  No one can force her to stay or leave,” Abu Nijmeh said.

The video shows a man in a suit hitting a woman, later confirmed to be an Asian domestic helper, who was wearing sports pants and crawling on the floor trying to avoid his abuse at an office.

The clip captures the man reportedly dragging and pushing the woman, who was crying and asking him to stop, then using his arms and legs to hit and kick her on various parts of her body, including her face. 

In one instance the man is allegedly seen pulling her scarf and attempting to strangle her with it.

The government, the Domestic Helpers Recruitment Agencies Association and citizens, mostly on social media, voiced their outrage over the incident.

Social media users and readers of media outlets called on the government to take stiff measures against the suspect and the office that employed him.

In August, the government announced several procedures to safeguard the rights of domestic helpers in Jordan, who numbered more than 49,000 by the end of 2014.

 

A total of 22,433 Bangladeshis, 14,382 Filipinos, and 5,759 Sri Lankans were working as domestic helpers in Jordan in 2014, according to official figures.

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