With no papers and no passport, this maid was paid 100 euros a month for 5 years even though she worked every day from 7am to 10pm.
This he-said/she-said story took place in the vicinity of Toulouse in France. As a maid and cook for 10 people, this woman worked 7 days a week for 15 hours a day and has recently pressed charges against her employers for ‘slavery’. According to the local media, this 38-year-old woman from Senegal worked in a Senegal-Lebanese family ‘every day from 7am to 10pm for 100 euros a month’ and claimed that she was treated like a slave for five years after she was stripped of her passport and all her documents.
A trapped woman…
This young woman apparently met her employers in Dakar in Senegal. They were looking for a maid to accompany them to France and at first, she was just contracted to work for them for a month during which everything went well. When she returned back to her country however, she got back in contact with her employers and decided to return a few months later to enter a longer contract with them. And that’s when things started to go south.
‘When I arrived, my boss and her daughter took my passport’ explained the woman.
‘I slept on a mattress that I brought from one apartment to another as one of the tasks that I had to do. My boss’s children and brother lived in the same building and I was shared between them all.’
…Who decided to press charges
Because of this unbearable situation she found herself in, the young woman, who has recently sued the family in front of a criminal court and filed a workplace suit, made the most of her boss’ absence from the house to ‘look for her papers and escape with the help of other employees at the house,’ explained her lawyer to the local media. She then pressed charges against her employers for ‘human trafficking, undeclared work, employment of an undocumented foreigner and facilitation of unauthorised residence’.
However, the examining judge dropped the case for inhumane treatment, claiming that there was insufficient evidence that the plaintiff had been living in terrible conditions or had been submitted to undignified working conditions. However, she did appeal against this decision.
The employers claim it’s all a charade
The employers from Toulouse were heard in this case and strongly denied the facts. They claimed that the young woman from Senegal had orchestrated the whole thing to obtain a permanent residence permit to stay in France.
‘The undeniable points from this case show that she did have a phone, that she had pocket money to do with as she pleased, that she was free to move about as she wished and that she even went on holiday with my clients. This is far from the supposed exploitation that she claims to have been submitted to,’ claimed their lawyer. The case will shortly be put before the criminal court in Toulouse.