Police patrols here have detained tens of absconding housemaids and referred them to the concerned authorities in the emirate.

The patrols have been targeting taxis and heavy vehicles coming into or leaving the emirate as part of the ongoing campaign against illegal immigrants.

A senior official at the emirate's police patrols department said the campaign against absconding housemaids was launched after receiving several complaints from the residents.

It has also been reported that housemaids who run away from their sponsors in other emirates also head to Ras Al Khaimah to work illegally, the senior official said. Police patrols have also been monitoring the city's streets, he said.

The official said that residents who employed absconding housemaids were violating the law. Anyone found harbouring such helpers or use their services will face heavy penalties, he said.

Police have also warned helpers working in private schools, hospitals and other offices not to work as part-time domestic helpers as the practice was illegal.

The official said several of these helpers have been offering their services to expatriate families. These helpers work on an hourly rate of Dh10.

He said their modus operandi was to approach expatriate families and leave their phone numbers with them. As and when the need arises, the expats would call the helpers, he said.

The official cautioned the families that they were exposing themselves to dangers by employing people whose whereabouts were not known.

The official said anyone found working for someone other than their sponsors would face action.