x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Police detain 163 runaway maids

Women were arrested as part of an ongoing campaign in Sharjah.

SHARJAH // Police have arrested 163 maids for absconding since the start of the year, including 23 in one day after a tip-off.

Of the those women detained as part of a continuing campaign in the emirate, 117 were from the same African country.

"Most of those arrested were employed as part-time maids or were employed without the proper documents," said Brig Dr Abdullah Ali bin Sahoo, the director general of the Department of Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs in Sharjah.

"As soon as a maid flees her sponsor she becomes an illegal resident, and the law stipulates that anyone who employs an illegal resident will be fined Dh50,000.

"We found up to eight maids staying together in a congested room. One of them had a baby from an illegal relationship."

Brig bin Sahoo urged residents to report any illegal, maids on the toll free number 80080.

Hameed Mohammed, a resident of Al Naba, said at least once a week a note was pushed under his door by maids looking for part-time work.

"Most of this area is for bachelors and this is a problem if a maid is looking for work here," Mr Mohammed said.

Some residents use illegal maids as the cost of sponsoring one - including a deposit at the Department of Foreign Affairs, health insurance and air tickets home - is expensive.

ykakande@thenational.ae