Friday, 25 February 2011

A Migrant Domestic Worker's experience in the UK - Analyn from the Philippines

©Pete Pattisson                                             
Analyn is 52 and comes from the Philippines. She is separated from her husband and is looking after her two sons, aged 17 and 27, who still live in the Philippines. Her younger son is still in school and wants to go to university. Her elder son is unmarried and works as a waiter, earning too little to provide for himself and his brother.

She first left the Philippines in 1986 to be a domestic worker in Hong Kong. But she left after six months because her employer sexually abused her. In 1993, she decided to migrate again because her then husband was not earning enough as a bus driver to provide for the family.

She found a wealthy and powerful employer in Saudi Arabia thanks to an agency. She was only sleeping three to four hours a night and being paid just US$300 a month, but she stayed, as it allowed her to send some money home to pay for the everyday necessities of her family: food, rent, and education for her sons.

The problems started when she was assigned as a nanny to the granddaughter of her original boss. The previous nanny had ended up in prison because of allegations made by the child that she had hit her. When the family moved to the UK, Analyn grew increasingly scared as the child started to tell lies to the family, claiming that Analyn had beaten her and shouted at her. Her employers rapidly became more abusive, shouting racist insults and threatening her. Analyn became so scared for her safety she decided to flee.

She is now living in London with a fellow domestic worker whom she met on the street. She is looking for another job. She says she will never go back to Saudi Arabia again, as she knows her former employer is powerful and would have her killed. In the UK she has peace of mind, knowing that she is protected by the law.

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