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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Nineteen-thousand runaway maids in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabian official says that more than nineteen-thousand foreign maids ran away from their employers last year.

Most of the maids are from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philipines.

An official in the Ministry of Labour Awad al-Radadi said the maids leave their employers for a variety of reasons, including non-payment of wages and maltreatment by family members.

He said that the maids were housed in shelters run by the ministry until the disputes were resolved.

It's estimated that more than one-million foreigners are employed as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

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