By Mohammad Awad
ADDIS ABABA: Women’s rights groups in France successfully rescued an Ethiopian woman who had been living in modern day slavery by a Dubai couple vacationing in Paris, Trust Law reported.
According to the Committee Against Modern Slavery and the Women’s Association United, the woman was rescued after hotel workers contacted the two groups, who in turn alerted French police of the situation facing the young woman.
According to women’s groups in Ethiopia, who spoke to Bikyamasr.com of the woman’s situation, she faced physical and verbal abuse by the Dubai couple at the Paris hotel.
“After this, police investigated and found gross violations at the hands of the couple and have removed the woman from the situation, which can be summed up as slavery,” a women’s group representative confirmed to Bikyamasr.com on Saturday in Addis Ababa.
According to a report in the Paris daily newspaper Liberation, the incident that sparked the police investigation took place in mid-July, “when the family— parents, eight children and the Ethiopian maid — had checked into the Hotel Concorde Opera for an extended stay,” Trust Law reported.
The 24-year-old domestic worker told an Ethiopian employee in the hotel that she wanted to get away from the family, “who had not paid her for the 18 months since she worked for them and had confiscated her passport.”
Trust Law reported: “According to the police report viewed by Liberation, the young woman exhibited bruises on her forearms and told police a story that is not uncommon in the world of modern slavery. She said that after the death of her mother, an uncle took her to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa where he made her sign up with an employment agency.”
She said one child routinely threatened her that if the household work was poorly done, “You will never return to Ethiopia. I’ll cut your throat.”
The incident highlights why the Ethiopian government has banned women from heading to the Gulf to work as domestic workers as sexual abuse, violence and situations like the one uncovered in France show.