Domestic Workers Sexuality

Recently there has been much talk about the bad conditions of domestic workers in Jordan. Human rights organizations along with many Jordanian social activists have raised an alarm against the slavery living conditions and abuse inflicted on foreign domestic workers in Jordan.

While reports highlighted physical, emotional and sexual abuse against young foreign domestic female and male workers, and while the prominent aspect of sexual abuse that is usually addressed is a forced non consent sexual act, merely no one addressed the abuse of human rights by imposing restrictions on others sexuality.

Bring on the table the sexuality of domestic workers in Jordan is not a matter of only a human right, or a luxury from my part, but it is also a matter of awareness that should be highlighted for an aspect that is a source of many problems, and in which, and like most of other problems regarding sexuality in our society, we always try to ignore, treat in secrecy or claim it to be inexistent.

Being a conservative society, and with a strong religious constraints on sexual behavior, we developed a shame culture with a focal point on sexuality for moral judgment. We perceive our moral belief system as an absolute, and thus while we try to abide with endless constraints against our biological sexual needs, which we have every right to do so, but we extend our expectations to impose our own laws on domestic workers working for us.

While an employer and a worker has the right to set their own rules. When it comes to abusing the basic human rights of the worker as a part of the employer set of believes, then it becomes more of slavery.

One can’t ignore the fact that most of domestic workers in Jordan are between the ages 20-40. Most of them come without a spouse. And all of them have different sexual needs that they try to cope with.

The scene is quite complicated. Some employers don’t even let their house maid go out the house alone so that she may not get into a relationship with the other building house guard. At the same time, their twenty something young sons, who are equally sexually deprived as of the maid, in a horney state, can easily impose himself on the poor maid and have sex with her against her will.

There are many stories floating around. Young men or even their fathers having sex with the house maid, is something that you commonly hear of. Pregnant house maids, and while are rare cases, do exist. House robbed because of a relationship between the house maid and another man from the outside happens at a wide scale.

It may not only male sexual abuse to their female maids. Widows, spinsters and even some gay men impose themselves on their young male house guard for sexual benefits.

Our society hides a lot. As long as everything happens in secrecy, no body cares. In fact, what would be expecting? Those imported workers are as human as we are. They have sexual needs that ought to be addressed. Unfortunately with a messed up situation of multiple constraints on everybody, those needs are just released in the wrong way, inflicting unnecessary pain that can be spared easily by acknowledging our humanity.


  1. you are taking it too far.I have noticed on many posts (including this one) that you see humans are people who only care about fulfilling their sexual desires. Man, we are not animals. We can control our urges. We shouldn’t let a case or two where the maid engages into a relationship be a basis for our judgement. Enough of that already.


  2. Hamza, some people do have more control over their sexual desires than others. Our sexual need is a biological need, and those people are just as human as me and you.We are not animals, but we are not angels either! and if we decide to torture ourselves by ignoring our sexual needs, then we don’t have the right to impose that on other people, even those who work for us!and even if we try our best to close all doors on their faces, they would always find a way to release their needs!Sexuality is a major problem in our Arab world. I am calling for more freedom regarding it that would ease many problems and save us many hectics.


  3. Fadi, Lina and I talked about this once. On one hand, the domestic worker’s human sexuality is ignored and on the other, it is assumed that every young woman “let out of the house” will run and get herself pregnant at first chance. On one hand an asexual child, on the other a sexually uncontrollable wench.For one who is a person of faith, and believes that all sexuality is to be expressed in a covenant relationship of marriage, I am a bit conflicted. For those domestic workers who are Christ-followers, I believe they should live by those standards.But I understand the loneliness of cross-cultural living, the oppressive nature of being considered something just a bit more valuable than the family dog. Even the house guard, treating her with more value than the madame does, would be a temptation to trade affirmation and acceptance with sex. And live with the guilt of it later.If a Christian domestic worker is not allowed to attend church and be with other believers who affirm her, it will add to her level of temptation.


  4. from where shall i begin ??! i think u exaggerate a little here.1. I think that non-Jordanian workers who come to work here do not have in mind their sexual needs, they’re priority is money (aka food). u can’t be horny while ur hungry, and sometimes dying of hunger. ( e.g. an Indonesian made who is in contract for 2 years won’t be crying to have an affair, since she didn’t have any for the time she lived back at her home )2.can u please refer to the studies u talked about, is there a way for us to view it ?3.abuse “in any form” is a crime, and should be treated as any other crime. there’s a low here in Jordan that can handle this stuff perfectly.4.i agree with u that our society lacks awareness and full of self-lying charades.5. i would like to point that there’s a small communities here in Jordan ‘which I’ve seen’ consists of Egyption families, foreign men and women who came to work here, they’ve met, got married and live here in Jordan in small houses beside each other.


  5. I agree that some maids get sexually abused by their employers, not only in Jordan but in other countries too.However, we keep forgetting that the female maid in Jordan is usually treated just like any woman in the society is treated. In general any relationship with a man is unacceptable for the regular Jordanian girl, it’s still not OK with the vast majority of families, so the maid should be no exception. The majority of Sri Lanki maids who come to Jordan are actually married and have kids back in Sri Lanka and that’s the main reason they traveled. That’s anothe rreason to prvent them from seeing other men !!


  6. Kinzi, it is one thing to believe in an issue and another thing to impose it on another human being, even being your own maid. Whether a maid is a christian or not, we can always prefer those who don’t practice any sexual behaviour while working in our houses, but we can’t ignore the fact of their needs and their right to work on them. They have the right to sin, dont they? 🙂KJ, excellent idea! That would solve 99% of our problems 😛PSG, 1. Sure, their first priority is money. They do face a lot of pain in order to be able to feed themsevles, but that doesn’t mean that we should take advantage of their needs to our benefits. There is a universal law for human rights, one’s sexuality is his own choice, no one has the right to impose a certain sexual behaviour on you even if you work as his maid. And being hungry doesn’t mean that you wont get horney! 2. I said reports. Check Human rights watch and Amnesty Internation sites for such reports. It is easy, just perform a google search. Hareega, the problem here is that maids shouldnt be treated like any other family member in terms of imposing your own values. Controlling one’s sister or daughter sexuality is something and his maid is another thing. As I said before, it is a basic human right, and the choice of having sex should only be in the hand of the person.Even if the maid is married, it is her choice to have sex with a different partner or not. It isn’t the employer choice. We might not like that and treat her like a bitch for not respecting her marriage vows, but it is ultimatly her choice to make.


  7. KJ… I agree,,, that would be perfect.Hareega, you are also right, imagine if a girl sleeps with the house guard! yet #$%#^@ the maid is acceptable.Hamza, to a digree i agree with you. I mean concentrating at the sexual needs of the maids is a bit absurd when you consider that they have no official working hours, no job description of any sort, as far as i know no health insurance, no days off, on many occasions no private room or space,,, imagine if a factory was hiring jordanians on this basis, what kind of fuss would we be making!But let’s get serious, shall we!? Few people in Jordan can afford having a maid if the above problems were corrected, well maybe we are abusing the phenomena! If one cannot afford to give the maid her basic human rights then he should not hire her in the first place. We need to stop ourblood sucking behavior and get off our asses and clean our own $%^#. Maybe then, when they start dressing decently, having a life other than the one written out by the employers’ wims, having their own space and basic human rights, maybe then, just then, we will address the sexual problem!


  8. beside the point that i agree that sexual rights fall slightly lower on the ladder of human rights that they need to earn but i wonder how common is the case of maids raping other residents in the house hold ?i know its kinda absurd but follow this, if thats the case that they are not really allowed to express themselves in that way to anyone outside the household i wouldn’t be too surprised about them turning on ppl in the household and especially the children …


  9. Dear Observer, I disagree :). As an employer, I have the right to expect a certain standard behaviour of someone in my employ. If I am paying for a service, within an agreed upon contract (which would include house rules based on my own convictions)then that person would be expected to live by them or lose the privilege of the job.That said, I will most likely never have a live-in employee, as I believe every person should have their own home and privacy, in which time they can do what they wish. Their sexuality is their business, on their own time, not mine. They may have the right, but not on my dime.Whatever: I think you hit the nail on the head…we abuse the phenomenon by treating domestic workers contrary to any labor law. The Philippine Embassy recently raised the minimum salary to 400JD a month so that a certain standard of employ was guaranteed to their people, but no one is enforcing it.


  10. Whatever, I didnt say that we should concentrate on domestic workers sexual behaviour while neglecting other aspects of their rights. But we shouldnt neglect this part as well. It is a major need of every human being and which can cause many problems if addressed in a wrong way. no_angel, good reasoning :). I am not talking about everyone, but for some, their sexual needs are just stronger than others, and they definatly look for a way to get it out. Kinzi, that is if the employer and the worker has a deal of certain working hours. In the Jordanian law, it shouldn’t be more than 48 hour/week. If an employer decided to keep the worker in his house for the rest of the day, then he has no right to ask about any behaviour, maybe in his house yes, but outside, no. The Philippine Embassy has done good. Thanks for the news 🙂


  11. نحن الان نعيش في عصر الرقيق والعبوديه،نستورد الخادمات من دول أسيا بسعر التراب لااجل عيون نساء عبدون والرابيه ودابوق حتي يعيشوا حياه كل ليله وليله، يا لل الخزي والعار علي هيك مجتمع حقير و واطي ،نحن مجتمع قد خسرنا أنسانيتنا وشرفنا،،أتفو علي هيك مجتمع وحكومه التي دائمآ قد شجعت الناس علي الاستغلال والحرمنه،،


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