For almost a decade in working as an HSW in Kuwait, Nena (not her real name), 35, missed the feeling of her salary resting in the palm of her hand before sending it to her family back home.
Her beloved salary did not show up for nine long years!
Another 2 months advance followed and the employer again gave what she asked for.It was sent to her family back home and her employer provided her a receipt that it was indeed sent to her family. Her family in Campostela Valley is poor. They are used to eating anything that's coming from their small farm and the money that she sent could mean a lot to them.
In almost 10 years of tenure, all she got was that 4 months salary she asked in advance. After that, she received nothing.
Everytime Nena ask for her salary, the simple reply from her employer would be: "It's in the bank already."
Harsh words, physical maltreatment, locked up without even have the chance to call the embassy or even other HSWs in the neighborhood. "If she saw any small specks of dust in the sofa, she would hit me hard in the head with sticks or any hard objects," Nena recalling her ordeal.
"When my employer asked me to stay for another year after I finished my 2-year contract, I told them if they could buy me 2 small washing machines and 2 refrigerators out from my salary. They bought it. the items were delivered to me at my sponsor's house. I asked them to buy it for me because I need them in Campostela, I was thinking of using them for business. But 3 years, 4 years, 9 years has passed, I was not able to leave that house. I was stucked there," Nena narrated.
In April 2015, her employer hired another Filipina. She thought that her Kuwaiti owner will let her go home for good but she was wrong. In spite of having a new Filipina house help, her employer still won't let go of her.
The newly hired Filipina helped Nena in her escape. they eyed an opportunity when the two of them were taken by her sponsor when they visited a relative. The new househelp managed to get hold of a mobile and using the SIM card she brought from the Philippines, she called her family and explained the situation to them and asked for help. The new helper's family called various government offices in Manila as well as the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.
They were advised to wait for a perfect opportunity to escape. In August 25, 2025, while their employers are busy, the two HSWs managed to escape and rescued by the ATNU of the Philippine Embassy. As of this writing, Nena is still at the custody of the Philippine Embassy while waiting for the resolution of the case. The Embassy said that her case is being heard at the Kuwaiti Court. For Nena, a few more years while waiting for the resolution won't be an issue anymore for she already spent 9 long years. The only problem is that her family thought that she is already dead because she has not been in touch with them for several years.
Nena's story is just one of the tragic experiences undergone by Filipino HSWs in Kuwait. The work force comprising of more than 600,000 in Kuwait alone, with issues of verbal, physical, emotional ang sexual abuse, maltreatment, unfavorable working conditions, excessive work hours, no day-offs, and no paid overtime work. There are some that are treated fairly but the cry of those who suffered ill fate with their employers echoes deployment ban for HSWs in Kuwait and even the entire Arab Region.
Source: Kuwait Times
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