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Ghana govt bans ‘recruitment’ of workers to Kuwait, Gulf countries – Move to curb abuses facing migrant workers

KUWAIT CITY, June 3: The government of Ghana has issued a temporary ban on recruitment of workers to Kuwait and other Gulf countries due to a hike in reported cases of abuse faced by migrant workers, says africannews. com.

The directive follows calls by several human rights activists to ban domestic (Article 20) visas issued solely to women traveling to the Gulf to work as housemaids. Employment and Labor Relations Minister Ignatius Baffour Awuah announced Thursday the issuance of recruitment license has been suspended as part of measures to curb abuses—as per reported cases in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), state-owned Daily Graphic said.

Former Ghanaian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia had also called on the government in 2015 to ban Visa 20 following a visit to Kuwait where he met girls who had been lured to the Gulf by recruitment agencies to do menial jobs and ended up facing degrees of abuses. The girls were mostly subjected to sexual abuses and inhumane treatment but they could not afford to return home, report indicated.

Ghana Immigration Service in a report issued in 2015 said over 2,000 Ghanaian women were stranded in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon five months after reaching respective countries through fake recruitment agencies that had promised them lucrative jobs.

It is noteworthy millions of women worldwide migrate to the Gulf to serve as domestic workers through recruitment agencies, and their employers usually confiscate their passports and subject them to long working hours without rest. However, some women realize their hopes for decent salaries and good working conditions.

In June 2015, Kuwait passed a law approving labor rights for domestic workers with a weekly day-off, overtime compensation and annual leave. Human Rights Watch has called on all countries to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Treaty on domestic workers and reform their labor and immigration laws to ensure domestic workers have the same rights and protection as other categories workers.

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