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26 Oct 2023

UAE: Social media platforms used by dehumanising & discriminatory recruitment agencies to "sell" female domestic workers, finds Guardian; incl. cos. responses

The staff force you to put on a hijab, then they film a video of you. If someone likes your profile, they come to the office, and you do a live interview. You have no option; you need a job.
Nia, 27, from Kenya

In October 2023, the Resource Centre wrote to TikTok and Meta over the findings from a Guardian investigation into the use of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok by recruitment agencies in the UAE to advertise women online. The report alleged domestic worker agencies, Maids.cc, Al Forsan Tadbeer and Leadership Tadbeer advertised women online; many adverts "price" women according to nationality and list personal aspects including marital status, passport number, nationality and physical descriptions alongside photographs. For example, Maids.cc stated Filipina maids required a bedroom of their own while African maids did not. The Guardian reviewed "dozens" of adverts advertising these women "for sale" online on Facebook and Instagram. The exploitation experienced by the migrant workers includes racial discrimination and being locked inside agency rooms for months without pay, among other abuses.

The Guardian invited Maids.cc, Al Forsan Tadbeer and Leadership Tadbeer to respond to requests for comment; only the latter provided a reaction printed in the article.

There is a close association between dehumanising practices in the recruitment process and wider abuse. Put simply, the less that recruitment agents and employers acknowledge the humanity of domestic workers, the less obliged they feel to treat them with dignity and respect.
James Lynch

The Resource Centre invited Meta and TikTok to respond to the allegations detailed in The Guardian and to detail how the platforms monitor and remove domestic worker agency advertisements deemed discriminatory, dehumanizing or otherwise harmful from the platform; responses from both companies can be read in full below.

Company Responses

Meta (formerly Facebook) View Response
TikTok (part of ByteDance) View Response