Oct 172014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06KUWAIT4649.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KUWAIT4649
2006-12-13 12:43
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Kuwait

VZCZCXRO3952
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #4649/01 3471243
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131243Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7886
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 1725
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 1047
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY 0539
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 004649

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ARP, INL/HSTC, AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2016
TAGS: PGOV KHUM ELAB RP KU TIP
SUBJECT: FILIPINO LABOR ATTACHE SAYS MINIMUM WAGE FOR DOMESTICS TO BE TRIPLED; DESCRIBES PROSTITUTION SCAM

Classified By: DCM Matt Tueller for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C/NF) PolOff met with Filipino Labor Attache Leopoldo
De Jesus on December 12 to discuss recent reports that the
Philippines intends to increase the monthly minimum wage for
Filipino domestic workers from USD 200 to USD 400. De Jesus
verified that all domestic workers leaving the Philippines as
of December 16 will have to have a contract for at least USD
¶400. He hopes this will lead to domestic workers being
treated as professionals rather than servants. Although he
acknowledged it could drive workers underground, he is
optimistic about the overall impact. Kuwaiti employers and
recruitment agencies were upset and predicted that demand
would shift to other, cheaper workers. De Jesus said he
could not judge whether there has been an upward trend
recently in organized prostitution that might be
characterized as trafficking in persons. In a separate
meeting, the head of Kuwait’s Criminal Investigation
Department said the recent reports of prostitution rings were
exaggerated, but that the GOK was vigilantly checking to make
sure prostitutes were not victims of force or deceit. End
Summary.

¶2. (C/NF) PolOff met with Filipino Labor Attache Leopoldo
De Jesus and Assistant Labor Attache Elmira Santo Domingo on
December 12 to discuss recent reports that the Philippines
intends to increase the monthly minimum wage for Filipino
domestic workers from USD 200 to USD 400 and to increase the
minimum age for domestic workers from 21 to 25 (Note: In
practice the minimum wage in Kuwait for domestic workers is
40 Dinars (USD 140) per month and the Philippines Embassy has
worked accordingly despite it being lower than the official
USD 200 minimum mandated by its government. End Note.) De
Jesus said the new regulation would go into effect December
16 and that Filipino authorities at ports of exit would not
allow any Filipino domestic worker to leave for Kuwait
without a contract specifying a salary of 120 Dinars (USD 415
– the Embassy has decided to round up the number). It will
not be retroactive to workers already in Kuwait on
lower-paying contracts.

Domestic Workers Should Be Treated as Professionals
——————————————— ——

¶3. (C/NF) Angelo Jimenez, an official from the Philippines
Overseas Employment Agency visited Kuwait and told PolOff on
December 2 that the new policy was designed to have domestic
workers treated as professionals: “If someone wants to hire a
professional housekeeper, he should pay for it. If someone
wants a servant, we’re not interested in providing that.” De
Jesus added that the USD 200 minimum is 20 years old and
needed updating. Building on the theme of treating domestic
workers as professionals, De Jesus went on to say that no
domestic worker would be allowed to leave without taking a
test and receiving a certificate of competency. Those who do
not pass the test would have to undergo training by the
Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
There will be a pre-orientation seminar for domestic workers
that will include language training and information about the
culture of the destination country. He added that he had
already met with Kuwaiti recruitment agencies to encourage
them to screen employers to make sure they are able to pay
the new fee.

¶4. (C/NF) De Jesus said he was aware that this would likely
decrease the total number of Filipino domestic workers in
Kuwait and also increase the number who would work illegally.
He also acknowledged that those working illegally would be
more susceptible to abuse since they would not be registered
with the Embassy and might be hesitant to ask the Embassy for
help. However, he said it would improve the lot of domestic
workers as a whole. Those working illegally would eventually
be discovered, especially if they went home for a vacation
and tried to come back without the proper contract, and that
the Filipino employment agencies who handled them would be
prosecuted. Any Kuwaiti employers who are found to be
employing workers illegally will be added to the Filipino
Embassy’s blacklist.

Kuwaitis React Negatively to Minimum Wage Hike
——————————————— –

¶5. (U) Newspaper reports in Kuwait described Kuwaiti
employers and recruitment agents as upset about the
Philippines’ decision. One source from the Kuwaiti Union of
Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO) was reported as saying this

KUWAIT 00004649 002 OF 002

would reduce the number of Filipino domestic workers from
100,000 to 5,000 within the next two years, as Kuwaitis
looked to cheaper sources of labor. The source went on to
say that no domestic workers in the Gulf get a salary higher
than 60 Dinars (USD 200). He added that all Gulf countries
had rejected the decision, and that Jordan and Lebanon had
actually stopped the import of workers because of it.

Bangladeshis Trick Filipinas into Prostitution
——————————————— –

¶6. (C/NF) Newspapers have run a number of reports of raids
on brothels over the past several months. Brigadier General
Abdulhameed Al-Awadhi, the General Manager of the Ministry of
Interior’s Criminal Investigation Department, told PolOff in
a December 5 meeting that the CID regularly undertook such
raids and that the recent media reports were sensationalized.
He emphasized that there did not seem to be a more organized
effort to arrange prostitution rings than in the past. He
also stated that the CID arrests both the pimps and the
prostitutes, and that its investigators question every woman
they catch in order to determine whether she was forced into
prostitution. Al-Awadhi blamed uneducated, unscrupulous
Bangladeshis for these prostitution rings.

¶7. (C/NF) De Jesus said he was aware of the prostitution
raids. He also accused Bangladeshis of being the culprits,
saying he had heard of a situation that they offered
Filipinas restaurant jobs with high salaries (USD 520 per
month) as well as type 18 visas (Note: Domestic workers have
type 20 visas, which are not valid for work in the private
sector. Type 18 visas are necessary for anyone working in
the private sector. End Note.). These Bangladeshis then put
the women in “vice dens” where they are forced into
prostitution. General Al-Awadhi said that sometimes the
women themselves call the police if they are forced into
prostitution, but that most of the prostitutes are not the
victims of trickery or force. De Jesus said he was not able
to judge whether the prostitution rings were common or if
there is an increase in forced prostitution since he only has
dealt with 20 such cases in the last year. The Filipino
Embassy has retained a lawyer who is currently prosecuting
some of the Filipina victims’ pimps in the Kuwaiti court
system.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait’s Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *
LEBARON

   

 

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