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June 20, 2014

'Runaway maids' tracked down on Kuwaiti Instagram

Local account uploads photos of 'escaped' domestic workers.
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Photo via Instagram user @mn7asha.

Kuwaiti domestic workers are being named and shamed on an Instagram account called Mn7asha, or "runaway". 

The account description reads, "An account to display pictures of servants fleeing in Kuwait, together to put an end to this phenomenon." The account lists a number to send photos to via the mobile messenger Whatsapp and says, "Hand in hand we can make a difference, even a small one."

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights estimates 600,000 domestic workers contribute to the country's migrant labour force. Foreigners make up the vast majority of Kuwait's private workforce.

As in other Gulf countries that use the kafala (sponsorship) system, migrant workers are tied to the employer sponsoring their visas. Most cannot leave the country without their employer's permission. Foreign workers trying to escape employers in Kuwait can face criminal charges for "absconding". 

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