Resources for Arab States

Tricked and Trapped: Human Traficking in the Middle East
This study sheds light on the situation of trafficked adult workers in the Middle East, both women and men. It analyses the complex processes by which vulnerable migrant workers are tricked and trapped into forced labour in various types of work in the region.

As if I Am Not Human (Saudi Arabia) – English
As if I am Not Human (Saudi Arabia) – Arabic
This report concludes two years of research and is based on 142 interviews with domestic workers, senior government officials, and labor recruiters in Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries. Saudi households employ an estimated 1.5 million domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal. Smaller numbers come from other countries in Africa and Asia. While no reliable statistics exist on the exact number of abuse cases, the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs and the embassies of labor-sending countries shelter thousands of domestic workers with complaints against their employers or recruiters each year.

Domestic Plight – Jordan
This report documents abuses against domestic workers and the failure of Jordanian officials to hold employers and the agents who recruited the workers accountable. The report also criticizes Jordanian immigration and domestic work labor laws for facilitating abuse, such as confinement in the home and imposing fines for overstaying the legal residency period, even where the worker is not at fault. Many of the 70,000 migrant domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines now living in Jordan face the same abuses as migrant domestic workers elsewhere in the region. These include beatings, confiscation of passports, confinement to the house, insults, non-payment of salaries, and overlong working hours with no days off.

Exported and Exposed – English
Exported and Exposed – Arabic
The report documents the serious abuses that domestic workers face at every step of the migration process. It also shows how the Sri Lankan government and governments in the Middle East fail to protect these women. The report is based on 170 interviews with domestic workers, government officials, and labor recruiters conducted in Sri Lanka and in the Middle East.

For a Better Life – Bahrain
For a Better Life – summary and recommendations Bahrain
This report documents the many forms of abuse and exploitation suffered by migrant workers in Bahrain and details the government’s efforts to provide redress and strengthen worker protections. Bahraini authorities need to implement labor safeguards and redress mechanisms already in place and prosecute abusive employers, Human Rights Watch said. The government should extend the 2012 private sector labor law to domestic workers, who are excluded from key protections.

Slow Reform
This 26-page report reviews conditions in eight countries with large numbers of migrant domestic workers: Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Singapore, and Malaysia. The report surveys progress in extending protection to domestic workers under labor laws, reforming immigration “sponsorship” systems that contribute to abuse, ensuring effective response by police and courts to physical and sexual violence, and allowing civil society and trade unions to organize.

Walls at Every Turn – Kuwait
Response of the Kuwaiti Government to HRW
This 97-page report describes how workers become trapped in exploitative or abusive employment then face criminal penalties for leaving a job without the employer’s permission. Government authorities arrest workers reported as “absconding” and in most cases deport them from Kuwait – even if they have been abused and seek redress.