I was at the airport, waiting for boarding. I sat beside a young woman from the Philippines who was working as a house maid for an Emirati family in Dubai. She was on her way home—for good—because she refused her boss’ request to drive the family around Dubai. She did not have a license to do so, and did not feel safe doing so, but her boss didn’t care. He insisted, telling her not to worry about her (lack of) a license.
Knowing that she would be in serious trouble if caught driving without a license, the woman declined, to be greeted the following day with news that she was being taken back to the placement agency. Without anyone hearing her side of the story, she was sent directly to the airport, with a police escort, and her working visa was canceled. She was not paid her salary for the last month, not given any cash for things like food during her journey home, and wasn’t even given her luggage. Her boss also confiscated her cell phone, so as to wipe the record of any contacts the woman had in the Middle East. She was literally thrown out of Dubai with only the clothes on her back, all for refusing to drive without a license.