Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Migrant Slave Workers of the Arab Gulf States

Read on AlJazeerah

Deceived and trapped into debt and bonded labour from the start, prospective migrant workers are duped into leaving their homes for Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait City, Riyadh or Sana’a. Naïve and desperate young men and women are promised they will be handsomely paid, that the streets are paved with dollars, that every apartment has hot and cold running water, that designer clothes, smart phones and flat screen TVs are a plenty, and that you too will live the good life, easily repay your loan to the agent and, crucially, help drag your family out of grinding poverty. With hollow promises like these, as the ILO says, migrants are “lured into jobs that either didn’t exist or that were offered under conditions that were very different from what they were promised in the first place” by unscrupulous recruitment agents. The reality for many is one of modern day slavery, imprisonment and violence; mistreatment that in many cases leads some to take their own lives. In Lebanon alone, migrant domestic workers are “dying at a rate of more than one a week – often by throwing themselves off balconies”, according to the Guardian newspaper. On the scaffolding around the glitzy building projects for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC) estimates that 1,300 Nepalese construction workers died last year.

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