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6 Jan 2023

The Times (UK) via Monitor (Uganda)

Saudi Arabia: Haraj.sa app reportedly "facilitating exploitation" of "auctioned" domestic migrant workers; incl. comment from Apple

See all tags Allegations

"How Ugandan maids are sold to wealthy Saudis on black markets," 30 Dec 2022

… listings are posted each day by Saudi citizens advertising migrant workers as available to buy or rent as maids, cleaners, nannies and drivers. Two hundred such listings have been seen by The Times.

[Haraj.sa]… is still available on the Apple and Google Play stores despite being criticised by the UN’s Special Rapporteurs in 2020 for facilitating modern slavery...

Every seller who spoke to The Times admitted they had been withholding their worker’s passports. Two admitted to physically disciplining their workers if they “spoke back”, and dozens said they expected their maids to work day and night without breaks for as little as £5 a day...

The Labour Laws Awareness Initiative, a Kenyan-based helpline for domestic workers in the Middle East, said it received reports of Saudi sponsors illegally selling or renting their domestic workers without official permission “every single day”, as well as hundreds of calls each month from workers reporting abuse...

Apple said: “We strictly prohibit the solicitation or promotion of illegal behaviour, including human trafficking and child exploitation, in the App Store and across every part of our business. We take any accusations or claims around this behaviour very seriously.”

Google declined to comment. Haraj, Saudi Arabia’s human rights commission and the government have been contacted for a response.