Curb on maids over beheading

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Sri Lanka will gradually stop women going to Saudi Arabia to be maids after one of its nationals was beheaded over the death of an infant.

The government in Colombo recalled its envoy to Saudi in response to the 9 January execution of Rizana Nafeek, who was sentenced to death in 2007 when still a teenager, accused of killing her employer’s daughter while bottle-feeding.

A spokesman said it would raise the minimum age for female domestic workers to be eligible to seek employment in Saudi to 25 from the present 21 with a view to stop such employment altogether.

“Gradual phase-out is the idea,” said spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella. “We can’t stop it overnight.”

A third of the two million Sri Lankan maids working abroad are employed in Saudi Arabia.