Filipinos scramble to leave Kuwait after brutal murder of domestic worker

Filipinos scramble to leave Kuwait after brutal murder of domestic worker
2 min read
06 February, 2023
At least 114 Filipino domestic workers have left Kuwait following news of the brutal killing of 35-year-old Jullebee Ranara, who was allegedly raped and murdered by her employer's son.
There are an estimated 268,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait [Getty]

More than a hundred Filipino maids have left Kuwait in just four days following the brutal killing of a 35-year-old Filipino domestic worker in the Gulf nation, local media reported on Sunday. 

Jullebee Ranara was found dead in the Kuwaiti desert on 21 January, just 24 hours after she called her family to share concerns about her employer’s 17-year-old son. 

The teenager, not publicly named, was later arrested and accused of raping and killing Ranara.

The incident prompted 114 Filipino workers to leave Kuwait in the space of four days, Gulf News reported

The Philippine government has also suspended accreditation for Kuwaiti foreign recruitment agencies to prevent the departure of workers to the Gulf state.

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Abuses against Filipino workers is widely reported in Kuwait, other Gulf countries and the wider Middle East. 

In Kuwait alone, at least four cases of murdered Filipino workers have been recorded since 2018, including a 29-year-old whose body was hidden in a freezer and abandoned for almost two years. 

In the Middle East more broadly, stories involving the human trafficking of Filipino workers are alarmingly commonplace given the continuation of the Kafala sponsorship system in the region.

Under the system, the state gives local individuals or companies sponsorship permits to employ foreign workers. Employees often have no rights in their host country, which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and denies them rights such as the ability to join a union. 

Ranara’s body has been returned to her home country. 

The 35-year-old was married with four children. She arrived in Kuwait in July 2022 and worked for a household in Jahra. 

Her death certificate said she suffered fractures to the skull, face, and lower jaw, and brain laceration.