Kuwait’s Human Trafficking Efforts Criticized by US State Department.

For the second consecutive year, Kuwait remains on the US State Department’s Orange List (Level 2 Watch List) in relation to combating human trafficking. The department’s report highlights that the Kuwaiti government falls short of meeting the minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking, despite making notable efforts. The report accuses the government of failing to implement a national risk management mechanism and procedures for identifying and preventing trafficking. Frontline officials are not consistently using standard operating procedures to proactively identify and refer victims to protective services. Additionally, no new measures have been taken to reform the sponsorship visa system, leaving migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation, including human trafficking.

The report presents several priority recommendations for Kuwait to improve its classification. These include intensifying law enforcement efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers under the 2013 Anti-Trafficking Law, reports Al Jarida. It also suggests conducting proactive examinations to identify trafficking indicators among vulnerable populations, such as individuals in government and embassy shelters, those arrested for immigration violations or morality crimes, and those escaping abusive employers. Unimpeded access to government shelters for all potential victims, regardless of criminal charges, is also emphasized.

Furthermore, the recommendations call for full implementation of the national referral mechanism and increased training for relevant officials and NGOs. Strengthening enforcement of the Domestic Workers Law is advised to protect the rights of domestic workers, ensuring access for them to file complaints and conducting inspections of recruitment agencies. Reforms to the kafala-based employment system are sought, including granting workers the freedom to change employers and leave the country without seeking employer approval. Stricter actions against employers who confiscate passports and penalties for passport confiscation are recommended to deter future perpetrators.

To combat forced labor crimes, the recommendations call for criminal prosecution rather than administrative action. Additionally, the private sector labor law should specify recruitment fee procedures to prevent workers from being burdened with related fees. Strengthening the implementation of the National Anti-Trafficking Strategy of the Human Trafficking Commission and expanding awareness efforts on migrant worker protections and trafficker penalties are also highlighted.

Source- Arab Times.

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