Human trafficking for labour exploitation is a global concern. In West Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council region, it is a particular worry given the scale of labour migration and the prevalence of opaque and exploitative regulatory systems. A new report on forced labour and human trafficking in the Middle East, based on research sponsored by the International Labour Organisation, attempts to quantify the scale of the problem. Not surprisingly, it makes for some disturbing reading. The report puts the estimated number of victims of forced labour in the region at 6,00,000. These numbers have a huge resonance for India, which accounts for a significant chunk of the labour force there. What emerges is the close relationship between human trafficking and labour migration, and how failures in labour migration governance systems are allowing trafficking to persist. In the region’s capital-rich economies, the rapid development of infrastructure has relied on the use of short-term labour immigration. An estimated 14 million migrant workers, originating mostly in Asia and Africa, were in the GCC states between 1975 and 2010.
Source: The Hindu