A 17-year-old Filipina domestic worker in Saudi Arabia died after allegedly suffering physical abuse and sexual violence from her employer, a migrant rights group reported Saturday.
Rehana ‘Rina’ Lusay Bayan passed away Friday afternoon after being in a coma since mid-September, according to Migrante-Middle East leader John Leonard Monterona.
The Filipina worker was reportedly unable to stand or talk when she was dropped off at the hospital by her employer in September. Based on evidence gathered by the migrant group, Bayan was physically abused and raped by her boss.
According to Monterona, his group had publicly campaigned to donate blood for Bayan, who had undergone surgery to remove a blood clot. The hospital, however, barred them from seeing her.
"We, and on behalf of her family in the Philippines, demand justice to be served,” Monterona said. “Heads must roll.”
The migrant group reported that Bayan’s case is not new in Saudi Arabia. Monterona said Migrante-ME receives “at least three cases” of abused underage workers a month.
Saudi’s migrant workers, who make up one third of country’s population, are known to suffer hyper-exploitative and abusive working conditions with up to 20 hour work days seven days a week. Migrant women, however, are more likely to be vulnerable to sexual abuse.
A study by the Philippines based Committee on Workers Overseas Welfare reports that 70 percent of Filipino workers employed as caregivers, or without a specific work qualification, “suffer continuous physical and psychological harassment.”