By Mohammad Al-Enizi and Fatima Al-Ghamdi
DAMMAM — A recruitment company displayed housemaids in a shopping center as part of product display on Saturday.
Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khalid Abalkhail said the ministry condemns such a disgraceful act and will investigate the incident.
“The company displayed a number of housemaids next to its kiosk in a shopping center in the Eastern Province. The company was displaying the maids as part of a marketing strategy to attract customers. However, the visitors of the shopping center found the sight extremely degrading for the maids standing there as if they were objects,” said Abalkhail.
He added the incident caused an outrage on social media for such an ill treatment of women in the shopping center. Lawyer Turki Al-Musa said the incident is definitely a form of human trafficking and not just a business violation.
“The Saudi Human Trafficking Law states that mistreating or degrading a person, whoever they may be and whatever age or gender, they have to submit to the abuser. The mistreatment may include verbal and physical abuse, threatening, blackmailing, kidnapping or exploiting the person, abusing authority to control the person or bribing the person in any way in order to sexually assault the person, put him or her under forced labor, force the person to beg, enslave the person, remove an organ or run medical experiments on the person,” said Al-Musa.
He added the penalty for human trafficking is imprisonment of up to 15 years or a fine worth SR1 million.
Lawyer Saeed Al-Dakheel said displaying a human being as if he or she is an object is disgraceful to the human’s dignity and freedom.
“Displaying the housemaids as if they were the object on sale to be rented out or sold out is a great mistreatment and it is against human dignity and human values,” said Al-Dakheel.