By Shamen Kalansuriya –
When we look in to the TV, radio and news paper advertisements published by the housemaid recruiting agencies they are offering precious opportunities to housemaids. They are even providing the visa and air tickets. But unfortunately we are not aware about the poisons snake call Kafala, wrapped in that gift pack. Poor people think this as a great chance to go abroad and earn but what they don’t know is the price for this gift.
Kafala (Sponsorship system) : “Under the kafala (literally, ‘guaranteeing and taking care of’ in Arabic) programme in the Arab States, an employer is required to sponsor a migrant worker’s visa and assume full economic and legal responsibility for him/her during the contracted period. Legally, the sponsored migrant worker can work only for his/her sponsor. In the case of a domestic worker, the programme makes it mandatory for her to remain in her employer/sponsors’ home. While the kafala system was created to provide the government with a way to regulate foreign labour flows, critics charge that the system can lead to the exploitation of migrant workers in general, and women domestic workers in particular.”
“The dependence created by the sponsorship system has the consequence that many domestic workers who suffer abuse do not make complaints against their employers. There have been cases of imprisonment of victim of abuse who had left their sponsor’s home in order to file a complaint 
In 2009 Bahrain banded this Kafala system and now they allow their employees to switch from one employer to another without the current employees concern. 
When we talk about the labour laws in Gulf countries, Jordan is the first and only Gulf country which covers domestic workers by the country labour law. So in other gulf countries domestic workers are not being covered under labour law and they don’t have clear provisions about working hours or overtime payments.
These migrant workers are the major source of income to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans respect the war heroes so much but has forgotten that these migrant workers were the main source of foreign income for the war fought. During the war time they did a great service by funding for the war. It was them who actually fought in the economic frontline. Even at present they are the people who fund the development projects. So as the society we have a great responsibility towards them. But from this responsibility part I don’t mean you people to do humorous things such as protesting against Kafala law or use this kafala law to criticize and debate with the Sri Lankan Muslims. We can work together as a nation and find a sustainable solution for this issue.
And according to my point of view, media is the most responsible party of this issue. They can educate the normal society about these laws because they are the only people who can touch every layer of the Sri Lankan society. But it is unfortunate that only the businessmen use this ability to advertise. Media can show the impacts of these laws and help the society to avoid these bad impacts.
 HIV Vulnerabilities of Migrant Women: from Asia to the Arab States Shifting from silence, stigma and shame to safe mobility with dignity, equity and justice, p.25 http://hdru.aprc.undp.org/resource_centre/pub_pdfs/P1105.pdf
 Bahrain scraps sponsorship system http://www.migrant-rights.org/2009/05/06/bahrain-scraps-sponsorship-system/
 Gulf Countries should Revise Domestic Worker Contracthttp://www.ituc-csi.org/gulf-countries-should-revise?lang=en