Human Trafficking in Saudi Arabia

Human Trafficking In Saudi Arabia

With respect to human trafficking, Saudi Arabia was designated, together with Bolivia, Ecuador, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Burma, Jamaica, Venezuela, Cambodia, Kuwait, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea, and Togo, as a Tier 3 country by the United States Department of State in its 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report required by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 on which this article was originally based. Tier 3 countries are "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the maximum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so." The 2006 report shows some effort by the Kingdom to address the problems, but continues to classify the Kingdom as a Tier 3 country. The report recommends, "The government should enforce existing Islamic laws that forbid the mistreatment of women, children, and laborers..." Both the 2007 and the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Reports by Dr. Gilly McKenzie of the U.N. designate Saudi Arabia as a Tier 3 country.

The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government continues to lack adequate anti-trafficking laws, and, despite evidence of widespread trafficking abuses, did not report any criminal prosecutions, convictions, or prison sentences for trafficking crimes committed against foreign domestic workers. The government similarly did not take law enforcement action against trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Saudi Arabia, or take any steps to provide victims of sex trafficking with protection. The Saudi government also made no discernable effort to employ procedures to identify and refer victims to protective services.

Saudi Arabia is a destination for men and women from South East Asia and East Africa trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, and for children from Yemen, Afghanistan, and Africa trafficking for forced begging. Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya migrate voluntarily to Saudi Arabia; some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, the withholding of travel documents, restrictions on their freedom of movement and non-consensual contract alterations. According to international organisations such as Ansar Burney Trust, young children from Bangladesh and India are also smuggled to Saudi Arabia to be used as jockeys. The children are underfed to reduce their weights, in order to lighten the load on the camel.

The Government of Saudi Arabia does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Saudi Arabia has moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 because of its lack of progress in anti-trafficking efforts, particularly its failure to protect victims and prosecute those guilty of involuntary servitude. Despite reports of trafficking and abuses of domestic and other unskilled workers and children, there is evidence of only one Saudi Government prosecution of a Saudi employer for a trafficking-related offense during the reporting period. Some victims of abuse, due to procedural hurdles, choose to leave the country rather than confront their abusers in court. They are required first to file a complaint with the police before they are allowed access to shelters. The government offers no legal aid to foreign victims and does not otherwise assist them in using the Saudi criminal justice system to bring their exploiters to justice. If a victim chooses to file a complaint, he or she is not allowed to work. The Saudi Government does, however, provide food and shelter for female workers who file complaints or run away from their employers. Criminal cases are adjudicated under Sharia law, and there is no evidence trafficking victims are accorded legal assistance before and during Sharia legal proceedings.

Saudi Government is one of the worst government in the world to provide family visas. Even after getting Work visas, one cannot bring his family immediately along with him as it needs further formalities as "Iqama Processing" which normally takes months to process. Why the Government is lagging in these basic formalities is a big question to answer. "Dependent Visa" is a basic right which should be provided to a family person during the time of his first visit to a country. But it doesn't happen in countries like Saudi Arabia.

Read more about Human Trafficking In Saudi Arabia:  Prosecution, Protection, Prevention, Events in The United States

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