Anti-Slavery are launching a campaign to raise awareness of forced labour of Nepalis in the Gulf, and to push for the fundamental rights for migrant workers accross the region. An estimated 700,000 Nepalis work in the Gulf, mainly as construction workers and domestic staff, and make up one of the fastest-growing migrant populations in the region.
The campaign will put pressure on governments in the region to end the sponsorship or ‘kafala’ system and to give workers the right to form trade unions.
The kafala system ties workers’ permission to live and work in their host country to the permission of their sponsor, and forbids them to seek alternative employment. Workers who strike or complain about poor working conditions and abuse risk losing not only their jobs but their permission to remain in the country.
Anti-Slavery will also work to raise awareness of the problem of corrupt recruitment brokers, who charge migrant workers vast sums of money to be brought to the Gulf to work in menial jobs.
Full press release here