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Saudi Snapchatter targets and terrifies 'black magic' housemaids Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Saudi Snapchatter targets and terrifies 'black magic' housemaids

The 'housemaid interrogator' has been called when maids are suspected of 'lying about religion' [Twitter]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2017

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Blog: The 'interrogator' is called in when a domestic worker is suspected to have placed a curse on the household...
A bizarre new trend on Saudi social media has emerged after a woman created a Snapchat account advertising her services to interrogate and verbally abuse "misbehaving" domestic workers.

The "interrogator" gained prominence as Saudis rushed to have their own servants hauled over the coals.

Often, the interrogator is called in when the domestic worker is suspected to have placed a curse on the household, or to have performed some kind of "black magic".

Other times, she is called in when the domestic worker is suspected of lying about their religion in order to get hired - or even for using their phone under "unauthorised" conditions.

Using the account 'Broonz2000', she films workers as she screams at them, terrifying them until they admit that they deserve to die and not be paid. Snapchat deletes clips posted after 24 hours, and so it is phone videos of her 'Stories' which have been doing the rounds online.

 
Translation: Video of interrogator screaming at a housemaids to hand over their
mobile phones after they resist “inspection”

This video, circulating across Twitter and WhatsApp, shows the interrogator intimidating a reportedly Ethiopian Christian housemaid for allegedly lying about being a Muslim - as it meant "she would be paid more".  

The interrogator reformatted the housekeeper's phone, so she lost all the numbers stored within and could no longer stay in touch with her family, friends and other workers. She went on to call for all East African workers to have their pay limited as a way punish them collectively.

The Saudi Twittersphere has erupted under the hashtag #TheHousemaidInspector.

Many shared the videos in an attempt to expose the interrogator, with calls for her to be banned and/or arrested:

 
Translation: Fear God!

One notable tweet called for a general boycott of hiring housemaids - saying it was "the same price as hiring a second wife".

 
Translation: Now having a housemaid is very difficult and their salaries are high.
With this money, you could pay for a second wife and have her help the first wife
in household duties.

While many Saudis have condemned the the self-proclaimed "inspector", there have been few calls to end the sponsorship system that allows workers to be put in such vulnerable positions in the first place.

The controversial sponsorship regime, known as the kafala system, is widespread across the Gulf and other parts of the Middle East and North African region. 

The system puts the employer in control of the visa status of workers, leaving them subject to deportation at any moment in time. It often, though not always, leads to workers being treated as property of their employers - leaving the worker vulnerable to exploitation.

Meanwhile, aside from addressing the system that subjugates domestic workers, some were more concerned with the investigator acting as a vigilante and "illegitimately" taking the law into her own hands...

 
Translation: Who gave her permission to demean housemaids in this way?
She was clearly raised in the streets, it’s impossible for someone who was raised
in a proper household to act like this

 
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