Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates: Trafficking Victims?
International Migration, Forthcoming
General Subserie Research Paper No. 2011-05
27 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 26, 2011
This article responds to Jureidini’s article ‘Trafficking and Contract Migrant Workers in the Middle East’ published in International Migration. Jureidini discusses the difficulty of establishing whether migrant domestic workers are victims of trafficking. He discusses the questions (i) if trafficking can be determined ex post or must it also be ex ante and (ii) if there must be a proven intent to trafficking. On the basis of data concerning domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, I argue that they often are victims of trafficking. In these two countries, forced confinement and exploitation do not concern individual cases but standard labour conditions. Agents in the countries of origin regularly misinform or even deceive domestic workers, while agents in the countries of destination actively stimulate confinement and exploitation. The lack of prosecution of traffickers furthermore is not caused by legal obscurities, but by societal issues. The article concludes with some policy suggestions to better address the issue of trafficking.
Keywords: Domestic workers, Human Trafficking, Palermo Protocol, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Forced confinement, Exploitation, Migrant workers, Intent
JEL Classification: K19, J61
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation