The NSHR or National Society for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia has stated that in those instances when an employer is extorting their workers for any amount of money before giving them allowance to change their sponsors is not currently classified or considered as human trafficking in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom, however it should be classified as such. The laws on human trafficking which were issued back in 2009 had prohibited any exploitation of the people under any form or shape. This also includes the use of any threats, misuse of a position of authority for service, deception, begging, medical experiments and removal of organs.[irp]
A recent report which had been issued by the NSHR showed a total of 51 cases of human trafficking had been recorded where the victims had been forced into some sort of employment even such as begging and in some cases had also been sexually exploited. The report by the National Society for Human Rights stated that in total 46 cases had been recorded of sexual exploitation of human trafficking victims. The city of Jeddah had the highest number of cases totaling in at 27, while Riyadh had a total of 11. Three cases were also reported from Qassim where people had been forced into begging on the streets and 2 other cases were reported in Abqaiq where people were put under forceful employment.
Dr. Naser Al Shahrani, a judicial consultant and a member of the Shoura Council stated that the current practice of transference of the sponsorship of any worker does not under any circumstance consider the agreement of the employee themselves and this is a serious matter which should be considered and thoroughly reviewed by the Ministry of Labor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Naser Al Shahrani added that there are some forms of transfer of sponsorship which are concluded or performed in exchange for a large sum of money. This practice alone is a clear violation of the human trafficking law in the Kingdom, especially due to the fact that the worker has been placed in a legal situation against his will.
Dr. Shahrani also believes that the Kingdom should completely eradicate the concept of Kafeel or sponsor from the laws, because of the negative image which the entire process or concept has become associated with. He added that the laws should be in a legislation which protects the rights and interests of both the involved parties and it should also ensure that the worker or employee is clearly in agreement to the transfer of sponsorship.[irp]
In related news, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Allehaidan, the spokesman for the passport department spoke to the Al Hayat daily and stated that around 12,955 workers have had their sponsorships transferred over the last three months. Home to one of the largest expatriate workforces in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia benefits greatly from the expatriate workforce and owe a great bit of the rapid development and rise of the nation to its expatriate workforce.
Source: Al Arabiya