The following is a guest post by George Sadek, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress covering laws of Arabic-speaking countries and Islamic law.
Join us on February 23 at 2 p.m. EST for our next foreign, comparative, and international law webinar titled, “The Dilemma of Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Forced Labor and Sexual Exploitation in Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States.”
Please register here.
Individuals from African countries, as well as from countries located in south and southeast Asia, travel to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) to work as domestic workers, security guards, drivers, gardeners, and construction workers.
In some cases, those individuals face forced labor and sexual exploitation. For instance, according to the United States Department of State Anti-Human Trafficking Report of 2022, foreign workers sometimes enter the United Arab Emirates on tourist visas instead of work visas. Many times, employers do not apply to exchange those workers’ tourist visas for the required work visas. Instead, they coerce those workers to work in inhuman conditions, confiscate their passports and threaten the foreign workers with deportation. The report indicates, for example, that in Kuwait, female domestic workers were vulnerable to forced labor, and physical and sexual abuse.
According to the BBC news agency, some of the foreign workers who were hired to build stadiums in the State of Qatar for the FIFA world cup of 2022, had not been paid for weeks. The BBC also claims that many foreign construction workers in Qatar lived in substandard accommodations. They were allegedly forced to pay huge recruitment fees and had their wages withheld and their passports confiscated, according to Amnesty International.
The webinar will discuss the definition of human trafficking under the U.N. protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. It will also highlight the difference between human trafficking and people smuggling. Additionally, the webinar will focus on the scope of the human trafficking problem in each country of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It will address domestic anti-human trafficking legislation within the Gulf Cooperation Council jurisdictions. Furthermore, the webinar will discuss measures adopted to protect trafficking victims and to prosecute perpetrators by member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Presenter George Sadek conducts research on the laws of Arabic-speaking countries and Islamic law. Prior to joining the Law Library of Congress, he worked as a Middle East specialist in academic institutions and government agencies, such as the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). In 1999, he earned an LL.B. from Cairo University Law School in comparative international law. During his years at Cairo University, he studied three types of legal systems: Islamic Shari’a (law), common law, and civil law. In 2004, George earned a J.D. (equivalency) from George Mason University and an LL.M. (Masters in Comparative Law) from American University Washington College of Law.
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