House maids are the cheapest export commodity in the world and the government has decided not to permit females going abroad for employment as house maids for anything less than US $ 250 a month, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Athauda Seneviratne said yesterday.
He said he would be taking up the case of the house maids at the annual meeting of labour exporting countries on September 20, 2005 in Jakartha, Indonesia.
The minister said that the Middle Eastern Gulf country householders, who earlier paid US $250 for a maid almost a decade ago, were now swindling the poor maids by offering them US $100 per month.
He said the government would be compelled to ban maids from going abroad for employment as the state cannot authorize slavery.
The minister said that he would be taking up the matter of a salary increase with the other countries that export house maids and arrive at a common understanding.
He said several rounds of discussions had been held with the local agents, who had appealed that the government to for the time being to authorize a salary of rupees 15,000 per maid per month.
`The government has commenced on a policy of sending only those house maids who had undergone training in the language of the host country, their religion and culture. They would also be trained to be competent in their work in order to be a fully qualified professional maids. The government has decided to train and export more males than females as we want to send workers skilled according to customer specifications and gradually do away with house maids if the importing countries fail to pay US $250 per month,` the minister said.