16th January 2018
By Tom Law

Recruitment agencies under fire for ‘demeaning’ domestic workers ads

By Sawsan Tabazah – Jordan Times
AMMAN — Domestic workers recruitment agencies’ marketing campaigns have been under fire of dehumanising the workers by using improper language that treats them as “commodities”. 

Experts blame the lack of sound editorial judgement as well as inconsiderate behaviour in some of the ads published on social and print media. “Post-purchase services”, “delivery in 30 days”, “discounts on maids”, “Order your helper without an advanced payment and cash on delivery”, “We offer you the ability to return and replace your maid under the provisions of law”, and “Enjoy a month of discounts on maids” are some of the examples cited. 

“These ads depict domestic workers as items rather than as human beings. They are excessively harmful and are a text-book case of commodification of humans,” said president of Tamkeen Fields For Aid, Linda Kalash, using the term [commodification] that refers the transformation of goods, services, ideas and people into commodities, or objects of trade. 

Citing a recruitment agency’s promotional video in which domestic workers introduce themselves and end up saying “choose me”, Kalash said that such ads enhance the negative perception towards domestic workers as inferior to other persons, an image inherent in the kafalah (sponsorship) system.

According to the International Labour Organisation Media-friendly glossary, the kafalah system is used as a means to regulate migrant labour in several Arab countries, including Jordan, where a migrant worker’s immigration and legal residency status is tied to an individual sponsor (kafeel) through a contract period during which the worker cannot resign from his/her job, transfer employment, or leave the country without first obtaining explicit permission from his/her employer. 

Read the full article in the Jordan Times.