An estimated 600,000 people have been “tricked and trapped” into forced employment in the Middle East, many of them also sexually exploited, the UN s labour agency said on Tuesday.
The International Labour Organisation, issuing the findings of a two-year study based on 650 interviews, called for an overhaul of employment practices in the region, notably an end to the “kafala” system of sponsorships.
Kafala, mostly prevalent in Arab states east of Egypt, which are home to more than 12 million foreign workers, requires all such labourers to have in-country sponsors, usually their employers, who are responsible for their visa and legal status.
“Labour migration in this part of the world is unique in terms of its sheer scale and its exponential growth in recent years,” said Beate Andrees, head of an ILO programme to combat forced labour.
“The challenge is how to put in place safeguards in both origin and destination countries to prevent the exploitation and abuse of these workers,” she said at the opening of a two-day conference on the issue in Amman, Jordan.
Source: The Frontier Post