A Filipino migrant worker group spoke out on modern-day slavery in Kuwait after a Kuwaiti social media celebrity sparked outrage online with her remarks on domestic workers.

In July, Sondos Al Qattan posted a video online criticizing the new rules for hiring Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait. She said domestic workers should not be allowed to keep their passports and should not have a day off, MintPress News reported.

MIGRANTE International, a Philippines-based advocacy organization, condemned her remarks and said domestic workers in Kuwait suffer from being seen as employers’ property, and endure what amounts to modern-day slavery.

Arman Hernando, MIGRANTE International spokesman, said that domestic workers normally work long hours and are not given days off. Hernando said their rights are not recognized and they have no choice but to put up with the situation.

“Even with the assurance of various laws and their contract stipulations, recruiters and employers blatantly violate them because domestic workers are powerless in asserting their rights (at their workplace),” Hernando said.

MIGRANTE International and another Philippine NGO, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, urged the Philippines government to permanently ban Al Qattan from hiring Filipino domestic workers.

There are about 600,000 domestics workers in Kuwait, most of whom are from Africa and Asia. Filipinos account for 250,000 domestic workers in the Gulf state.

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