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In Singapore, You Can Buy A Maid At The Mall

Well, this is a trend we hope never hits Vietnam’s developing mall culture. In Singapore, there are shopping complexes full of galleries with names like “Budget Maid” and Homekeeper.” Here, one can purchase the services of domestic workers from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. If this sounds messed up, that’s because it is.

A recent exposé by Al Jazeera painted a picture of these galleries where shoppers can pick up a maid for 2 years, or longer:

"[M]aid agencies", as they're known locally, display women at work. Along one aisle, domestic workers push each other around in wheelchairs, as though they're taking care of the elderly. In another gallery, a woman cradles a baby doll and pretends to change its diapers. Others stand in mock living rooms ironing the same shirt, or making the same bed - scenes enacted elsewhere in Singapore at malls like Katong Shopping Centre on Mountbatten Road.”

Beyond the obvious levels of human degradation of these women face, this is perhaps the least of their worries.

Those who do find employment risk sexual assault from their employers and those who don’t accumulate an average debt of $2,500 - $3,000, owed to the employment agencies for their placement services.

This is a stark reminder that Singapore is far from the City upon a Hill many view it as.

[Al Jazeera]

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