Al Birk, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Foreign domestic workers in the Middle East are still facing abuse and exploitation, according to a United Nations agency. The International Labor Organization (ILO) said domestic workers had a vital role in Arab families, The National reported.

“Modern households are increasingly expecting domestic workers to support the care of children during critical stages of development, aid the elderly to live with increased autonomy and assist in chores and household management,” the UN organization said.

However, the ILO said the labor laws in the Middle East were often not followed, which resulted in the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers.

It said there was no conflict between the needs of employers and domestic workers, but there was misinformation and noncompliance with the existing laws. It also said there was often no transparency in the recruitment process.

“The studies also revealed tensions between the expectations of workers and employers, and mismatched skills, which remain largely unaddressed,” the ILO said.

“Much more can be done to ensure that there is better understanding between the two parties, and better systems of compliance, ultimately resulting in more harmonious and productive working relationships,” it said.