Renuka Chowdhury, the Indian minister of women and child development, has called for a ban on women under 30 to work as maids in the Gulf in a bid to curb sex trafficking.
While any attempt to improve the lot of poor women and children should be supported, it always vexes me when people try to cure the symptom rather than the disease. If your roof is leaking, you can't put a bucket under the leak and say all is well. Soon the bucket will overflow, leading to spillage on the carpet. Bacteria will grow in the stagnant water. Meanwhile your crack in the ceiling which caused the leak in the first place will continue to grow bigger.
Maids, abuse of maids and sex trafficking occur in the Middle East due to the complex nature of the society living in the oil rich states. First, the very example of the Prophet that is given in order to justify polygamy is completely ignored when it comes to household duties. The Prophet used to patch his own sandals, sew his own garments, searched his garment for lice himself, milked his sheep, and helping his wives with the household chores (Tirmidhi 5822). Yet today, in a typical rich household in the Middle East, there are maids to tend to the household tasks, nannies to take care of the babies, drivers to chauffeur the family, gardeners to tend to the lawn and so on. This culture of laziness has also caused a huge problem in modernizing the country - locals tend to ignore education (as their parents have huge oil wealth anyways). Ironically, the most interested in pursuing higher education with due diligence tend to be the females. So, where a family would require at most one maid, you have a whole army of servants tending to their every need.
Second, there is a superior belief, or arrogance if you will, about the supremacy of one race. This leads to looking down on many others as "rafeek", "miskeen" or what have you. Where else is it part of the culture to attend camel races where the jockeys are kidnapped children from Asia, malnourished to maintain a lower weight, and abused by trainers? Why did no one speak against such a vile and rampant practice for so long? Would any local permit his own kid to be a camel jockey? It is this sense of supremacy, of a feeling of one law for the locals and one for the foreign riff-raff, that ultimately leads to maid abuse.
Third, one has to examine WHY these local boys, sometimes as young as 14, look at the maids with lust. Is society causing unnecessary hindrance to natural inter-mingling of men and women that boys (and sometimes girls) have to resort to unorthodox manners to quench their subjugated thirst?
And finally, the fault must also lie with the governments of the subcontinent that knowingly allows its women to serve as maids abroad. They know they themselves have failed to alleviate poverty, to create employment and to structure social welfare programs. So while they busy themselves trying to legislate who can hug whom or tearing down video stores, they will turn a blind eye to the plight of women and children from their own shores being potentially abused as they just try to feed themselves and their family.
And everyone of them is Muslim!