KAMPALA – Following the continuous flow of reports of abuse of Ugandan citizens at the hands of their Saudi Arabian employers, the government of Uganda has banned citizens of the country from taking jobs as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

Uganda’s Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Wilson Muruli Mukasa, said the government is continuing to “receive information of our people being subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of the employers in Saudi Arabia.”

In a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mukasa stated: “The ban will remain in force until the conditions are deemed fitting,”

The move was taken after an audio clip emerged on social media channels. This clip documented a number of Ugandan women, who claimed to be imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and have shared stories of abuse at the hands of their employers, generating widespread public outcry.

The move comes as a surprise as it has only been six months since Uganda had signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia, which allowed Ugandan citizens to look for jobs and work as domestic workers in the country. The pact between the two countries was to lower the sky-high unemployment figures in Uganda and it is estimated that nearly 500 Ugandans have gone to Saudi Arabia since .

But the constant complaints from citizens employed in Saudi Arabia and the reaction that the audio clip received has forced the government to take a stand.

Mukasa admitted: “Our expectations were that with the signing of the agreement, trafficking in persons to Saudi Arabia would stop.”

Uganda isn’t the only country to have banned its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia. Indonesia, Ethiopia and Philippines have also taken similar steps.

– The Global Panorama