The US State Department’s report on human trafficking for the year 2022 has placed Kuwait on the orange list, and the head of the National Office for Human Rights, Ambassador Jassem Al-Mubaraki, said he was not surprised by this decline, describing the sponsorship system as similar to slavery, servitude and forced labor.
Al-Mubaraki added, in a statement to local Arabic daily, that he spoke repeatedly, and conveyed his opinion to concerned officials of the need to abolish the sponsorship system, as it harms the reputation of Kuwait, explaining that these sponsors bring workers in exchange for a material amount, according to nationality, and the prices of recruiting some nationalities may reach more than 2,000 dinars.
He asked, “Do they think that the world does not see what is happening in Kuwait?” He reiterated the “necessity of abolishing the sponsorship system, and putting an end to what is happening in the recruitment offices of domestic workers.”
He added, “The world sees advertisements posted on websites where servants are offered for sale, and this is slavery, although the decision has been issued by the Council of Ministers to ban such advertisements.”
He stated that “these combined reasons are what cause the country’s classification by the US State Department and all human rights organizations,” which is declining.
He pointed out that “the situation is currently bad, but if the sponsorship system is abolished and the residence is made free and a greater role is given to the Public Authority for Manpower, so that only the market needs of trained and qualified workers are brought in and we will have an ideal market, and this will lead to alleviating the state’s facilities in terms of roads, health and electricity.”
He stressed that “everyone knows that there are mafias that recruit workers for a fee, and throw them on the street to work, which increased pressure on state facilities, and this was revealed during the pandemic period, so where did the labor cities project that will guarantee the humanity of these workers go?”
He said, “Before looking at the report of the US State Department or others, we must reform ourselves, because the cause is mystical in Kuwait, and our country is open to all beneficiaries.”
On the progress of Kuwait’s classification during the period of the “Corona” pandemic and its decline at the present time, Al-Mubaraki said that “what was done during the pandemic period was a reaction, and when the pandemic ended, we went back to what we were because our policy is a policy of reactions.”
Returning to the report, the US State Department based the downgrade on the fact that the government “does not fully meet the minimum standards necessary to eliminate human trafficking, but is making great efforts to do so.”
While the report identified three levels of countries based on the extent to which they meet the standards in combating the phenomenon, Kuwait was included in the watch list of the second level (orange), which includes countries whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards and are making great efforts to achieve this, but they do not take concrete measures.