By Zewditu Fesseha esac founder
I would like to thank you for supporting ESAC in our efforts to bring awareness to the Rights, Equality and Better Standards of Living for young girls and women of Ethiopian decent, living in The Gulf States and other predominant Muslim countries. For several decades the treatment of women around the world, from Africa to Asia and from Europe to the Americas has been short of Sinful! Young girls from poor countries and neighborhoods around the world have been bought and sold, continuously for the sick pleasures of the rich in upper class societies. Child Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Slave Trafficking are all a part of a normal society for many in Africa and Most Middle Eastern Countries and The Gulf States.
Ethiopia is a country full of Rich history and Accomplishments that still affect today’s global society. So, it is truly hard for me as an Ethiopian Native, to sit back and watch silently as Such a Rich History becomes tarnished by present standards of living toward my fellow Countrymen. This is my reason for standing before you today.
Domestic worker safety in the Gulf came under international attention this year when the body of Joanna Demafelis, 29, from The Philippines; was found in a freezer at a home in Kuwait. Local media reported that there was evidence she had been tortured by her Lebanese and Syrian employers who were eventually found in Syria by Interpol.
Agency France-Presse reported, The Philippines subsequently announced a ban on women working as domestic workers in Kuwait, to which the government announced, that it would recruit more domestic staff from Ethiopia!
Last year, an employer in Kuwait filmed her Ethiopian maid falling from a seven-story building!
Ethiopia has only recently lifted a five-year ban on its citizens working in the Gulf state. The Ethiopian government had banned its citizens from employment as domestic workers in the UAE in July 2012 to protect them from abusive employers. At that time, according to Ethiopian Ambassador, Mesganu Arga Moach, “About 250 to 300 people are coming daily to work as domestic workers and security worker.” As migration continued, the ban was lifted and negotiations for a formal agreement began.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Globalizations and Health, many domestic workers were not only unfamiliar with the Arabic language and culture of the Gulf; but also the safe use of household appliances and cleaning products. Under the new arrangement, domestic staff will be required to undergo training in Ethiopia before travelling to the UAE.
The proposed UAE-Ethiopia agreement is one of several under negotiation this year. Negotiations are being made not only for safety, but also for salary and More Importantly Women’s Rights in Employment.
The Saudi media reported, that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ethiopian government agreed on a unified contract for domestic workers in April. It stipulates compulsory training before travel and evidence of a bank account for salary deposit. A similar draft agreement is under review in Kuwait.
However, as progressive as this may be with the UAE; Illegal recruiters are also trafficking young girls and women across the Al Ain border to Oman, where Ethiopia has no diplomatic Mission and No labor agreements. So, as you can see, even though, there is acknowledgment by the Ethiopian government that there is a problem, the exploitation of its citizens is still very prominent and very real; This, is why we need as much help as possible from the general public.
In consideration of the Mothers, daughters and sisters of Every country in the world that, at some point in it’s history, until now, had to deal with the Degradation, Selling, Stealing, Raping and Shameless Killing of their Women…I implore you to do all you can to honor this time of year for International Women’s Month. As we Unify ourselves to become aware of the continued crimes around the world against Women…Let us Unify ourselves to do Something About it.
Please Help ESAC to continue the work we are doing to build a source of support, in Ethiopia, for young girls and women; to help with Personal care, Advocacy outsourcing and Education. With these basic resources, we are hoping to be able to build a foundation for those who have none of their own with which to start. We are involved in the building of a community center in a Rural portion of Ethiopia for this purpose.
If you would like to find out more about the efforts of ESAC and would like to join, in doing your part to make a difference to your sisters around the world…Please feel free to see me after this segment and I will gladly provide to you all the information you need. You can also send an email to ….to join our mailing list and get involved in future events.
Thank you again for your time and for all future support to our Ethiopian Sisters being trafficked and killed all for the sake of making an honest living for their families.
ዓለም አቀፍ የሴቶች ቀን የካቲት ፳፱ (March. 8)
በመላው ዓለም በየዓመቱ በየካቲት 29 ቀን ይንም (March 8.) የሲቶች ቀን በመባል በታላቁ ይከበራል ። ይህንኑ በማጠናከር የኢትዮጵያ ማህበራዊ አገልግሎት በዓሉን ምክንያት በማድረግ የውይይት መድረክ አዘጋጀቶአል። ለሴቶች መብትና ጢንነትን በተመለከተ በየጊዜው ብዙ ሽግግርና ማሻሻያም ተደርጓል ይሁንንና ችግሩ በተለየ መልኩ በመከሰት የሚፈለገው ደረጃ ላይ መድረስ አልቻለም። ይሁንና የሴቶችን ችግር ገጠመኘን ለማሻሻል ና መፍተሄ ለማግኘት የውይይት ዝግጀት ተይዟል. አርስዎም የዚሁ ውይይት ተካፋይ እንዲሆኑ ተጋብዘዋል።
እንድሚታወቀው የኢትዮጵያ ሴትች በተለያየ መንገድ ኑሮን ለማሸነፍ ወደ ጎሬቤት የአረብ ሀገር በሕግም ሆነ ካለህግ ካሀገራቸው ውጪ በመሄድ የደረሰባቸው ችግር እጅግ አሳዛኝና አስደንጋጭ ነው ይህንን ሁኔታ ያላየ ያልሰማ የለም። ታዲያ መፍተሄው ምንድነው? አሁንም በሹሉክልክ ከሕግ ውጪ ወደዚሁ ሀገር ለሞትና ለባርነት በመሄድ ላይ ይገኛለኡ።
በውይይቱ ላይ ተግኝተው የበኩልዎን ሃሳብ ይስጡ በማለት የኢትዮጵያ ማህበራዊ አግልግሎት ኮሚቴ በአክብሮት ያሳስባል.!
New York, NY (December 10, 2013) — Despite uninviting snow storm in New York City, ESAC and protesters held a candlelight vigil in front of Saudi Arabian Mission to United Nations in memory of Ethiopian Migrant Victims of Saudi Arabian abuse.
During the event of Nelson Mandela’s untimely death, ESAC remembers Mandela’s contribution to equality and human rights. On December 10th, a day commemorating Human Rights all around the world; ESAC and protesters came together to also remember Ethiopian Migrant Victims who suffered and died in result of their basic human rights being violated. The abuse of the Ethiopian Domestic workers abroad must come to an end and we continue to request and make sure Saudi Arabia is held responsible and that we will not give up until we get a lasting and substantial solution to this problem. We (ESAC) ask that these victims not suffer in vain but that Ethiopians who are still trapped and voiceless, be noticed and be freed without reservation.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
ESAC invites you to a panel discussion that we will be hosting and moderating 2013 New York New York on the Status of Domestic Workers of Ethiopian Women in mid-east countries.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 3pm
entrance by invitation
At 310 E42 street bet 1st and 2nd street New York , NY 10017
Members of ESAC are shocked and devastated by this sad news!!! As our chairwoman Ms. Zewditu has urged, all concerned individuals (Ethiopians and non Ethiopians) who live around NYC and beyond please join us to fight this fight against the abuse of domestic workers in the Middle East. It is inhuman to savagely abuse domestic workers and it must be stopped. May Alem Dechassa rest in peace!!!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian domestic worker that was violently mistreated outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut, as shown in a viral video last weekend, has committed suicide, Ethiopia’s Consul General confirmed to local media in Lebanon.
Alem Dechasa, 33, hanged herself using her bed sheets Wednesday morning, the Daily Star newspaper reported.
“My body is shaking and my heart is broken” said Ms. Zewditu Fessehaa, Chairwoman of the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee in New York City, whose organization has been mobilizing efforts to assist the victim. “It’s depressing, it’s very sad and it’s unfair. She added: “As a mother I want to appeal to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to do something. Our daughters are being treated like dogs and there is nothing we can do about it.”
Ethiopian General Consul Asaminew Debelie Bonssa spoke to the Daily Star following a visit to the hospital where she killed herself. According to the newspaper, the Ethiopian consulate official said he saw Alem Dechasa Saturday and she appeared fine. The diplomat also said doctors told him they checked on her at 5 a.m. this morning and when they returned at 6 a.m. she was dead. Bonssa said he was ‘deeply shocked’ by the news.”
In New York, the ESAC chairwoman called for a collective response. “I want to appeal to everyone. We need to pull together to stop this madness,” Ms. Fessehaa said. “The cruelty directed against domestic workers is a human rights issue.” She added: “It needs an in-depth understanding, and an innovative solution within and beyond the Ethiopian community. We need people from every profession to assist us to make sure that our sister did not die in vain.”
Meanwhile, a vigil to mourn Alem Dechasa’s death is scheduled in front of the Lebanon embassy on Thursday, at 11 AM in Washington D.C.
In this informative article from Tadias, In Lebanon Abuse Video of Ethiopian Domestic Worker Surfaces, ESAC’s chairperson outspokenly criticized the mistreatment of foreign domestic workers in the Middle East and encouraged concerned people to work together in order to find possible solutions to help the women:
“It is time to end the unchecked exploitation of migrant women in the Middle East,” said Ms. Zewditu Fessehaa,” Chairwoman of the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee in New York City. ESAC recently hosted a public forum to highlight the plight of Ethiopian female domestic workers in the Middle East. “As the world can see from this video the treatment of domestic workers in that part of the world is inhumane, barbaric, unjust and must be stopped,” Ms. Fessehaa said.
In New York, Ms. Fessehaa said she is urging everyone to speak out on behalf of the workers. “Men or women, it is time to break the silence on this urgent crisis,” she said. “We need to demand that our women are treated with dignity and humanity.” She added: “We need to start thinking about alternative solutions to the larger problem that continues to lure them to unsafe work conditions in foreign lands. This issue must be permanently solved.”
In keeping with the theme for Women’s History Month 2012, “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment”, the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) is launching an initiative to build a task force in New York City that can advocate for foreign domestic workers in the Middle East. Join us at this inaugural event, where we will host speakers from various organizations, including the International Ethiopian Women Organization, Adbar Ethiopian Women’s Alliance, and Resources for the Enrichment of African Lives. These speakers will discuss the issues surrounding domestic workers in the Middle East.
You can also register here.