Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Filipina maid flees Dubai over black magic fears

Terrified woman discovered that her employer kept suspicious dolls, mysterious inscriptions and photos of her

One of the unidentified texts found by the maid. Courtesy: Barney Almazar, Gulf Law
One of the unidentified texts found by the maid. Courtesy: Barney Almazar, Gulf Law

A Filipina maid was flown back home from the UAE after fears her employer was practising black magic against her.

The terrified worker discovered voodoo dolls, a book of Satanic verse and a photo of her all hidden in a box.

Stunned by the find, Rose, 37, who did not want to give her full name, sought legal advice so she could quit her job and leave the country.

Officials from the Philippine consulate in Dubai said they were aware of the incident and had helped the woman return home.

“I found a box of small dolls and a book on black magic,” Rose told The National. “I pulled out another box and there was a photo of a woman. When I looked at it again, I realised it was a photo of me.

“There was a metal triangle with some inscriptions. I asked an Arabic speaker what it meant but they didn’t understand the writing. I was shocked.”

The mother of two first discovered the box while cleaning her employer’s villa in Jumeirah, Dubai.

But worried about confronting her boss, she instead contacted consulate officials to ask if they could assist.

Practising black magic is illegal in the UAE and customs legislation prohibits the import of animal bones, amulets and other objects that might be associated with sorcery.

Falsely claiming someone can be cured of illness or benefit financially by using black magic is also considered fraud under federal law.

“I was scared to live in the house, so felt I had to leave as soon as possible,” said Rose, a practising Catholic who has worked in the UAE for four years.

“I believe in God so if anything bad happens to me, it will come back to him.”

Barney Almazar, a lawyer with UAE-based firm Gulf Law, said Rose did not want to press charges in case it delayed her return home. As a result, the incident was not reported to police.

“Generally, her employer had been nice to her but she got scared when she found the Satanic items and she wanted to leave," he said. “That’s when she sought legal advice on how to escape her situation.”

Officials from the Philippine consulate said their staff were always on hand to help citizens in distress.

Administrators have access to a fund to help workers who are in difficulty and want to go home.

“It is very hard for us to check every agency and who they are placing live-in maids with, particularly those who may be recruiting illegally," General Consul Paul Cortes said. “When complaints like this are made, we can take the details of those concerned and pass them on to the relevant authority in Manila.”

“If anyone is in distress they can access financial help to aid their repatriation,”

Updated: February 13, 2019 03:20 PM

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