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Traumatised at the hands of Pretoria family; Zim domestic worker used as sex slave, exploited then fired

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By Staff Reporter/ The South African


A ZIMBABWEAN woman employed as a housemaid in Pretoria, South Africa is grappling to recover from the trauma of alleged sex slavery by a family she worked for, before her unceremonious dismissal.

A labour union, the United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA), is now representing the battered woman seeking justice from the Saudi Arabian family resident in Pretoria.

UDWOSA has revealed shocking allegations of the lived horrors of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and exploitation of the migrant domestic worker by her former employers.

UDWOSA has reportedly taken steps for justice and legal recourse for the domestic worker in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for the unceremonious dismissal, and with the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the sexual abuse.

The family allegedly used her as a slave and an object for their sexual pleasures, with instances where she was forced to massage her employers genitals.

They reportedly overworked her from Monday to Sunday, including public holidays and underpaid her.

According to the union, the husband, wife and one of their sons who are all from Saudi Arabia, sexually harassed and abused the woman in their home in Pretoria.

The migrant worker was employed by the family in 2019 and according to her from 2020 to 2021 she has been called by the wife to her bedroom on numerous occasions when her husband and other children were not home and was forced to massage her genitals with olive oil, UDWOSA said.

The woman also spoke about other incidents of sexual harassment by other members of the family, which left her traumatised.

The union said local and foreign employers take advantage of migrant labourers, who, having escaped the socio-economic woes and political instabilities in their countries of birth, have found refuge in South Africa in the hope of living a better life.

“These employers use this precarious position and vulnerability of the desperate migrants to super-exploit them and have them work for longer hours for extremely meagre compensation. In other instances like this one, they take advantage and sexually abuse them.”

The domestic worker was dismissed on August 24, 2022 when the family said they are going back to their native country.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has also pledged heartfelt support for the traumatised domestic worker and also demanded justice for her.

“The employers should not be let free, and the husband and wife who employed her must be fined and sentenced to prison in accordance with correct legal prescripts that deals with sexual assault. The law must protect the vulnerable against the rich and powerful.”