Teach maids how to get help in case of abuse, trafficking

The report on Sept 13 ("Maid's case may be TIP of the iceberg") said that an Indonesian maid had allegedly been abused and could also be the victim of labour trafficking.

The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics has found that one in five maids shows signs of psychological distress ("Call to give maids more privacy, time with loved ones"; March 9).

Other humanitarian organisations have reported that some maids even attempt suicide to avoid working for an employer.

Unfortunately, there are also many stories of maids who inflict harm on themselves to get out of employment.

The Manpower Ministry and its employment agents must tell maids of their rights, including their right to make a police report on abuse.

But maids must also be told of the consequences of abusing the law by making false claims of abuse.

It is time to review the Singapore Employment Act to include foreign domestic worker contracts.

To minimise chances of trafficking, they should live in dormitories, manage their own affairs and have fixed working hours.

Employment agencies must be mandated by law to make home visits to monitor their well-being.

Let us teach foreign domestic workers to obey our laws and lodge police reports, rather than run away.

Bala S. Rajaratnam (Dr)