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The vicious cycle of the lives of Ethiopian women in the Middle East shows no sign of end

Hone Mandefro

Following the oil boom witnessed since the ‘70s in the Gulf States, the hunt for foreign domestic workers, mostly women, to take up jobs less favored by the locals has seen a steep upward trend.  In Ethiopia, thanks to the removal in 1991 of exit visa requirements, immigration to the Middle East and to some extent the Gulf States quadrupled. Now it is taken as a means to earn a decent livelihood especially among women from urban families.

Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are the major destinations for two main reasons: geographical proximity and the zero level of education qualifications required to secure a visa and presumably well-paying jobs.