Middle East

Report: Foreign maids in Oman can face abuse nearing slavery

FILE -- In this Sept. 15, 2010 file photo shows a general view of the city, in Muscat, Oman. A new report released Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by Human Rights Watch alleges that foreign maids working in Oman face abuse and conditions that near slavery. The report, based on interviews its researchers conducted with 59 female migrant workers in the sultanate, said some recounted being beaten, verbally abused, denied fair pay and working as much as 20-hour days. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

FILE -- In this Sept. 15, 2010 file photo shows a general view of the city, in Muscat, Oman. A new report released Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by Human Rights Watch alleges that foreign maids working in Oman face abuse and conditions that near slavery. The report, based on interviews its researchers conducted with 59 female migrant workers in the sultanate, said some recounted being beaten, verbally abused, denied fair pay and working as much as 20-hour days. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)  (The Associated Press)

A leading international rights group says that foreign maids working in Oman face abuse and conditions that near slavery.

Human Rights Watch released a report Wednesday, based on interviews its researchers conducted with 59 female migrant workers in Oman, a country on eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.

The report says some recounted being beaten, verbally abused, denied fair pay and working as much as 20-hour days.

Human Rights Watch in part blames the sultanate's "kafala" employee sponsorship system. The system, versions of which are used throughout the oil-rich Gulf Arab states, gives bosses considerable power over workers by effectively binding them to a given employer.

Oman's government-sponsored Human Rights Commission and the Omani Embassy in Washington didn't respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.