Ajman: With Ramadan approaching, a senior police official has warned UAE residents against hiring part-time housemaids due to the possibility of theft and other crimes that could be committed by them.

Many housemaids drop leaflets in apartments or villas that contain their contact numbers but people should refrain from employing them.

Major Ali Hashim, Director of Illegal Residents at Ajman Police, told Gulf News that most of the problems with housemaids involve absconding in general and thefts by part-time maids in specific.

“These [part-time] maids are usually not on the sponsorship of the family, and so when they do anything illegal, it is difficult to trace them as the employers know nothing about them,” said Major Hashim.

Many of the housemaids who abscond do not have proper visas. There are also instances of them getting involved in prostitution and human trafficking, he said. Major Hashim brought to light the fact that neighbourhood grocery stores play a major role in abetting the crimes of housemaids and helping them abscond.

He urged the public to play an active role in bringing the culprits to book by assisting the police whenever they observe a suspicious activity or know of someone staying illegally in the country.

Major Hashim said the issue of maids running away from their sponsors is a tricky one for law enforcement and humanitarian agencies to tackle. Thousands of maids abscond every year across the country, many accused of theft or of otherwise harming their sponsors.

At worst, a runaway maid can be tricked into becoming an illegal worker, then blackmailed into servitude, said Major Hashim.

Around 70 per cent of the housemaids who came to the UAE, he said, were deceived by contract offices in their countries and 90 per cent of maids who absconded are also victims of abuse.

Major Hashim urged families and institutions to respect the residency laws and refrain from hiring illegal maids because they put themselves at risk of theft and other misdemeanours and could face legal action.

He also urged all families who want to sponsor a maid to thoroughly explain to the maid the nature of her job and ensure she is comfortable with what is expected of her to avoid problems and misunderstandings.