minimum wage domestic workers

A domestic worker was allegedly used as a sex slave and abused by a family she worked for. Image: Vuk’uzenzele

Zim domestic worker used as sex slave, exploited and dismissed

A domestic worker from Zimbabwe was allegedly used as a sex slave by members of a family she worked for in Pretoria and was later dismissed.

minimum wage domestic workers

A domestic worker was allegedly used as a sex slave and abused by a family she worked for. Image: Vuk’uzenzele

The United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA) has revealed shocking allegations of the lived horrors of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and super-exploitation of a migrant domestic worker by her employers.

Members of the family the migrant worker was working for allegedly used her as a slave and an object for their sexual pleasures. They also allegedly overworked her from Monday to Sunday including public holidays and underpaid her.


According to the union, the husband, wife and one of their sons who are all from Saudi Arabia, sexually harassed and abused the woman in their home in Pretoria.

The migrant worker was employed by the family in 2019 and according to her from 2020 to 2021 she has been called by the wife to her bedroom on numerous occasions when her husband and other children were not home and be forced to massage her genitals with olive oil, UDWOSA said. The woman also spoke about other incidents of sexual harassment by other members of the family which to date have left her traumatised.

The union said local and foreign employers take advantage of especially migrant labourers who, having escaped the socio-economic woes and political instabilities in their countries of birth, have found refuge in this country in the hope of living a better life. 

“These employers use this precarious position and vulnerability of the desperate migrants to super-exploit them i.e. have them work for longer hours for extremely meagre compensation. In other instances like this one, they take advantage and sexually abuse them.”  


The domestic worker was dismissed on 24 August 2022 when the family said they are going back to their country

UDWOSA has reportedly taken steps for justice and legal recourse for the domestic worker in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for the unceremonious dismissal, and with the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the sexual abuse.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has also pledged heartfelt support for the traumatised domestic worker and also demanded justice for her. 

“The employers should not be let free, and the husband and wife who employed her must be fined and sentenced to prison in accordance with correct legal prescripts that deals with sexual assault. The law must protect the vulnerable against the rich and powerful.”

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