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The New Arab

Dubai man, 62, accused of raping domestic worker

The 52-year-old worker was allegedly raped from March through to October [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 December, 2017

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A domestic worker of Filipino origin was allegedly raped by her 62-year-old employer in Dubai, according to a police report, raising concerns over abuse of migrant workers.

A domestic worker in the United Arab Emirates has accused her employer of raping her several times and threatening to beat her should she speak out about her ordeals.

The 52-year-old domestic worker of Filipino origin said during a police investigation that she had entered the United Arab Emirates in September 2016 on a visa sponsored by her employer. The man, 62, began to rape her in March, she alleged.

"He raped and sexually assaulted me on several occasions and each time he would threaten to assault me if I did not do as he pleased," she said, according to Khaleej Times.

On the day she filed the complaint, October 4, he had raped her again but instead of suffering in silence, she decided to risk the "consequences" he allegedly threatened her with and contacted police.

"He forced himself on me after he threatened me as usual. I tried to keep him away but stopped when he threatened me. I felt so scared and did not scream because there was no one but us in the flat," the victim said.

A forensic investigation at the police station found that she was raped. Bruises were visible on her body, the report said.

Read more: #MeToo, say domestic workers in the Middle East

The Middle East's Gulf region has an estimated 2.4 million migrant domestic workers, the majority from Asia and Africa. They fall under the kafala (visa sponsorship) system, forbidding them to leave or change employers without their initial employer's consent.

If they do, they can be arrested and punished for "absconding" with fines, detention and deportation.

The isolating and harsh working conditions often, though not always, lead to workers being treated as property of their employers - leaving the worker vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Also in the Gulf region, rape victims can face charges of zina -sexual relations outside of marriage - once they report the crime.

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