MANILA, Philippines—In Singapore, more employers are hiring private detectives to trail their maids.
Such is the case of 27-year-old administrative assistant Shoba Devi, who got suspicious when her Filipina maid of a few months started chatting on the phone late at night.
“Devi, who is single and lives with her father who is in his 60s, said: “I didn’t know if she had a boyfriend and I was worried for our safety if she brought her boyfriend home,” She said in a report by The Straits Times published on June 25.
Last February, Devi hired a private investigator to check out on her maid during her days off.
It turns out that the maid- who is in her 20s and married- had a Bangladeshi boyfriend. On her days off, they would eat out, shop and later check in a budget hotel.
“I kind of expected her to have a boyfriend but I was shocked that she checked into a hotel with her boyfriend. What would happen if she got pregnant? So I sent her home,” Devi said.
Devi spent S$2,500 or (US$2,002) for three days of monitoring her maid and she thinks it’s all worth it.
The report said that private investigators charge about $1,000 (US$800) and S$4,000 (US$3,203) to track maids.
The same report said that six investigators they interviewed all got regular assignments every month to track maids, and the demands double during June and December school holidays when families go on holiday and leave the maids at home alone or with an elderly.
Raymond Lim of APAC Investigation Consultancy said he used to get one job every two to three months but today he gets up two maid surveillance assignments every month. This now accounts for up to 20 percent of his business.
The Strait Times also reported that the Manpower Ministry (MOM) receives an average of 200 complaints a month about errant maids. The top three complaints of employers about their maids are bringing boyfriends home, stealing and hitting the children.
David Ng, director of DP Quest Investigation Consultancy said another Filipina maid was trailed and found out that she would check in different budget hotels with different men on a Sunday. She spent her off days as a sex worker with three to four clients a day.
The employer let go of the maid immediately when this was found out.
An Indonesian maid was also sent home after her employer found out that she sneaked in her foreign worker boyfriend in her employer’s house in the middle of the night and the man would leave before daybreak.
She was supposed to take care of an elderly woman with dementia.
Filipina maids, other helpers being spied on in Singapore