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* Sri Lankan government sets minimum age limit for migrant housemaids
Wed, Jan 26, 2011, 11:23 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 26, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has decided to raise the minimum age limit for migrant domestic workers from 18 to 21 years of age.

The Cabinet has approved a proposal submitted by the Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera to raise the age limit.

The Minister has proposed the change since the young migrant housemaids are increasingly being subjected to various forms of abuse and exploitation by their overseas employers.

The government says that a nearly 50 percent of Sri Lankans migrating for foreign employment are females and a large percentage of them go as domestic workers.

Most of the countries employing the Sri Lankan domestic workers do not have a minimum age limit for females to be employed, especially for the domestic sector and it appears that the young females are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by the employers, the government pointed out.

According to the statistics from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment a large number of complaints of abuse had been received from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For 2009 the Bureau has received 5,796 complaints, nearly 40 percent of the total number of complaints were from the Kingdom and 4,564 of these were from female workers. Complaints from the workers employed in Saudi Arabia have been increasing since 2006, the Employment Bureau says.

The subject of migration of young women for domestic sector jobs has raised many concerns in the society due to their vulnerability, the government says.

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