Torture in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
 

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                  gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Bahrain.htm

Kingdom of Bahrain

With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production and refining account for over 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, over 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP (exclusive of allied industries), underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. Aluminum is Bahrain's second major export after oil.

Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are long-term economic problems.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Bahrain

Bahrain is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Eritrea migrate voluntarily to Bahrain to work as formal sector laborers or domestic workers. Some, however, face conditions of involuntary servitude after arriving in Bahrain, such as unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.  - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   [full country report]

 

 

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bahrain.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.

*** FEATURED ARTICLES ***

Confronting the Taboo of Human Trafficking

John Defterios, Khaleej Times Online, 13 March 2009

www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=&section=opinion&xfile=data/opinion/2009/March/opinion_March51.xml

[accessed 20 January 2011]

Forty-year-old Suryavathi Rao fled the home of her employer that morning shoeless with only a nightgown and bible to her name.   The years of domestic labour have taken their toll.  She could easily pass for 60 if not a few years older.  After working 16 hours a day, seven days a week for a year and a half, Suryavathi could not take it anymore. 

She said through a translator that her meagre salary of $108 a month had not been paid for six months.  She complained about not being fed meals and surviving on the generosity of her neighbour another domestic worker who pulled together leftovers to get by.   Suryavathi could not get through three sentences without breaking into tears.  As a result of her fleeing for protection, she has become a runaway worker with no rights.  Her employer holds her passport.  The best she can hope for is to get the passport back and hope that the shelter can give her enough money to buy a ticket and fly home to Southern India.  It is not that simple of course, since back home Suryavathi fears she won’t be welcomed back due to her “failure” to send back money and keep a job.

This is the life of a forced labourer and the complex world of human trafficking.  Technically, Suryavathi was not trafficked.  She had a sponsor agency that she paid $1100 to back in India and is still charging here 5 per cent a month interest on the balance.  But she certainly did not expect slave like conditions when she arrived.

Bahrain activists hope for better protection of workers' rights

Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief, Gulf News, February 13, 2007

gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-activists-hope-for-better-protection-of-workers-rights-1.161089

[accessed 20 January 2011]

LACK OF LEGISLATION - Around 270,000 foreigners out of total population of 710,000 live in Bahrain, whose economy depends heavily on them. But the lack of comprehensive legislation on foreign workers, mainly from Asia, who come to Bahrain to work as domestic servants and in the construction industry often means that they have to put up with physical abuse, sexual harassment, non-payment or delay in payment of salary and long hours of work.  "We want to use the workshop to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of the issue of exploitative labour and labour trafficking.

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61686.htm

[accessed 20 January 2011]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [c] Unskilled foreign workers can become indentured servants and often lacked the knowledge to exercise their legal right to change employment.

In numerous instances, employers withheld salaries from their foreign workers for months and even for years, and refused to grant them the necessary permission to leave the country. The government and the courts generally worked to rectify abuses if they were brought to their attention, but they otherwise focused little attention on the problem. The fear of deportation or employer retaliation prevented many foreign workers from making complaints to the authorities.

Labor laws do not apply to domestic servants. There were numerous credible reports that domestic servants, especially women, were forced to work 12‑ or 16‑hour days, given little time off, were malnourished, and were subjected to verbal and physical abuse, including sexual molestation and rape. Between 30 to 40 percent of the attempted suicide cases handled by the government's psychiatric hospitals were foreign maids.

It was estimated that there were 50,000 foreign housemaids working in the country who are predominantly of Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Indian, Bangladeshi and Filipino origins. During the year, there were several incidents of seriously abused housemaids reported in the press.

Housemaids who have no embassy representation in the country (Indonesian and Sri Lankan) are often subject to the worst types of physical and sexual abuse. With no diplomatic mission to protect them and no established victim assistance shelter, runaway housemaids have often been returned by untrained police to abusing employers.

Confronting the Taboo of Human Trafficking

John Defterios, Khaleej Times Online, 13 March 2009

www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=&section=opinion&xfile=data/opinion/2009/March/opinion_March51.xml

[accessed 20 January 2011]

Forty-year-old Suryavathi Rao fled the home of her employer that morning shoeless with only a nightgown and bible to her name.   The years of domestic labour have taken their toll.  She could easily pass for 60 if not a few years older.  After working 16 hours a day, seven days a week for a year and a half, Suryavathi could not take it anymore. 

She said through a translator that her meagre salary of $108 a month had not been paid for six months.  She complained about not being fed meals and surviving on the generosity of her neighbour another domestic worker who pulled together leftovers to get by.   Suryavathi could not get through three sentences without breaking into tears.  As a result of her fleeing for protection, she has become a runaway worker with no rights.  Her employer holds her passport.  The best she can hope for is to get the passport back and hope that the shelter can give her enough money to buy a ticket and fly home to Southern India.  It is not that simple of course, since back home Suryavathi fears she won’t be welcomed back due to her “failure” to send back money and keep a job.

This is the life of a forced labourer and the complex world of human trafficking.  Technically, Suryavathi was not trafficked.  She had a sponsor agency that she paid $1100 to back in India and is still charging here 5 per cent a month interest on the balance.  But she certainly did not expect slave like conditions when she arrived.

Thai Sex Worker In Bahrain Seeks To Extricate Friends Caught In Catch 22 Situation

Pattaya Daily News, 02/05/2007

www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/1210

[accessed 20 January 2011]

Uoom told the reporter "I want to warn other women. If you were convinced by someone who promised you a well-paid job in Bahrain, don't trust them. They will tell you of a dream-like city, but what you'll face is like a hell.”

Cyber sex sites spur vice probe

Rebecca Torr, Gulf Daily News, August 15th, 2007

byshr.org/?p=56#more-56

[accessed 20 January 2011]

A Bahrain human rights group has launched an investigation to unmask the perpetrators behind more than 35 websites offering sex to customers here and in other Gulf countries.  Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) president Mohammed Al Maskati said they were concerned about women who were being brought here on promises of lawful employment only to find themselves victims of sexual exploitation.  He said women from Europe, Middle East and Asia were being advertised for sex through more than 35 Arabic and English websites.

Human trafficking victims failing to turn up

Geoffrey bew,  Gulf Daily News, August 08, 2007

www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=189949

[accessed 20 January 2011]

Migrant workers' rights activists say they are helpless when it comes to assisting victims of human trafficking in Bahrain to benefit from the government's general amnesty.  Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) action committee head Marietta Dias said women being held against their will and controlled by others are likely to have little chance of making it to the relevant authorities.

"Human trafficking victims are of concern to us, but what can we do?" she told the GDN.  "We have no idea where these people are being held or whether they have come here on their own free will.  "We hope that these people can somehow take advantage of the amnesty, but how we get to the victims is the main thing."  Her comments come after Thai Embassy officials said the fear of arrest was preventing many of its people from taking part in the amnesty.

No Human-Trafficking Problem in Bahrain

Bahrain News Agency, May 29, 2007

www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/413701?date=2011-04-15

[accessed 1 September 2011]

Social development minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi has rejected the idea of classifying Bahrain as a country suffering from the problem of human trafficking.  Human-trafficking is a global trend that many countries, including developed ones, suffer from, she said in a statement to Bahraini daily Akhbar Al Khaleej. She said her ministry had taken all legal measures against the problem and has created a social protection network to avoid it. Some of the steps taken are the setting up of Dar Al Aman For the protection and shelter of abused women, the setting up the Bahrain Child Protection Centre, the introduction of an anti-begging law and the opening a centre to shelter beggars, she said.

Bahrain activists hope for better protection of workers' rights

Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief, Gulf News, February 13, 2007

gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-activists-hope-for-better-protection-of-workers-rights-1.161089

[accessed 20 January 2011]

LACK OF LEGISLATION - Around 270,000 foreigners out of total population of 710,000 live in Bahrain, whose economy depends heavily on them. But the lack of comprehensive legislation on foreign workers, mainly from Asia, who come to Bahrain to work as domestic servants and in the construction industry often means that they have to put up with physical abuse, sexual harassment, non-payment or delay in payment of salary and long hours of work.  "We want to use the workshop to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of the issue of exploitative labour and labour trafficking.

Invisible victims of trafficking

Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief, Gulf News, November 3, 2006

gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/invisible-victims-of-trafficking-1.264267

[accessed 20 January 2011]

"A significant number of human beings, including women, are trafficked into Bahrain. Unfortunately, their plight seems to remain unknown to significant parts of Bahraini society, perhaps because the victims tend to be foreign nationals or are considered to be of low social status," Sigma Huda, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, has said.

The Bangladesh-born lawyer said: "Bahrain's victims of trafficking are often invisible victims because they suffer in places that remain hidden to the public eye, such as private homes, hotel rooms or labour camps."

Gulf states urged to fight human trafficking

Reuters, Manama, Nov 1, 2006

www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/669

[accessed 20 January 2011]

Huda said female domestic workers, roughly 50,000 of Bahrain's 300,000 migrant workers, were especially disadvantaged. Some are lured into degrading jobs by recruiting agents with false promises of decent work conditions.

Huda described complaints of 14 to 16-hour working days, imprisonment in the home, the confiscation of passports, deprivation from contacting home countries, withholding pay, or being forced to steal food or eat scraps through lack of meals.

"Physical abuse is also a problem. Some victims told me of incidents of severe and traumatic abuse including mental and verbal abuse," she said, adding that widely held racist and sexist attitudes contributed to the prevalence of trafficking.

Human trafficking claimed

Bahraini.TV, August 7, 2006

bahraini.tv/2006/08/07/human-trafficking-claimed/

[Last accessed 20 January 2011 – access is now restricted]

A probe into alleged human trafficking may be launched in relation to last week’s Gudaibiya labour camp blaze, in which 16 workers were killed. Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty has asked the Bahrain Foreign Ministry to investigate what he alleges were violations of international laws against human trafficking.

Islamic Clerics Authorize Sex With Infants

Excerpts from an interview with Bahraini women's rights activist Ghada Jamshir, Al-Arabiya TV, December 21, 2005

MEMRI.org, FrontPageMagazine.com, January 4, 2006

archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=6050

[accessed 20 January 2011]

"The point is not to have opposition from abroad. The point is for them to live and be protected in a safe country. If a woman cannot get any protection in her country, cannot get any protection from the courts, cannot get any protection in the marital home - where will she go? Where will she go?"

"All her life, the woman is a prisoner in her own home. In the past, she would not go out to work, or to study abroad. Very few women would go to university outside Bahrain. She is at home in order to cook, sweep, and raise the children. How will she get an education? There are women whose families are extremist. They even force them to marry against their will.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 5   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/bahrain

[accessed 26 June 2012]

Human Rights Overview by Human Rights Watch – Defending Human Rights Worldwide

www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/bahrain

[accessed 20 January 2011]

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DS247.A13 P47 1994

lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/bhtoc.html

[accessed 20 January 2011]

2nd ID Seeks to Curb Lap Dancing at Clubs

Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes, Pacific Edition, Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, January 26, 2004

www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,SS_012604_Lap,00.html

[accessed 20 January 2011]

The crime often involves women duped into moving to a foreign country, then forced to become sex workers there. Greer said he learned about human trafficking after meeting his Philippine wife when she was working in a South Korean nightclub.

"When I was dating my wife, I found out her sister in Bahrain hadn't been paid in 10 months. She was working 16 hours a day, six days a week. Through many e-mails and telephone calls we took this guy to court and he had to pay her and return her to the Philippines," he said.

Arms Trade

Victoria Garcia, Analyst, Center for Defense Information, March 31, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

BACKGROUND - Although the government has worked to advance human rights and improve citizens’ ability to change their government through more democratic means, the U.S. Department of State notes several problems in the human rights area.  While the Constitution calls for an independent judiciary, courts are often subject to government pressure and security forces are rarely tried for abusing their power.  The government limits the freedom of speech and of the press; freedoms of assembly and association; and freedom of movement.  Violence and discrimination against women is common, as is discrimination based on religion and ethnicity.  Forced labor and human trafficking are also problems.

Ansar Burney Trust Rescues Two More 'Child Camel Jockeys' in UAE

Pakistan Press International PPI, Lahore, October 09, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

ANSAR BURNEY TRUST RESCUES TWO MORE 'CHILD CAMEL JOCKEYS' IN UAE - The Ansar Burney Welfare Trust International is the only human rights organisation working since last several years practically against slave labour in Middle East and Arab Countries to rescue the innocent children working as child camel jockeys in very worst circumstances. It has rescued total 318 children in this current year, 147 children on slave in UAE and 171 children from Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Muscat, Kuwait and other parts of the Arab and Middle East countries and sent them back to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Srilanka and other respective countries for their rehabilitation.

Dhaka blacklisted for human trafficking

Agence France-Presse AFP, 16 June 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

The State Department in its report observed that Bangladesh is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, involuntary domestic servitude, and debt bondage.

An estimated 10-20,000 women and girls are trafficked annually to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Bahrain", http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Bahrain.htm, [accessed <date>]

 

 
Torture in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bahrain]  [other countries]