Kuwait recruits a majority of its domestic workers and others from the Philippines, much less from India and Africa. When the Philippine President Duterte took advantage of unreal situation of his citizens in Kuwait and threatened to withdraw them immediately, if not treated well, his announcement confused Kuwait because of the large size of Filipino labor, the importance of its role and to face the threat in the future.
The concerned authorities incited domestic labor offices to recruit labor from other countries in order not to rely entirely on one or two sources of foreign workers. Thus, the hordes of human traffickers, without coordination or government control scrambled to the African countries such as Burundi, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mali, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and the Congo, all of which have no embassies in Kuwait to care for their citizens.
After a while, it was found, that the promises made by some employment offices in terms of salary and working conditions were unrealistic, leading to sharp differences between new workers and their sponsors, and large numbers of women workers resorted to government shelters; demanding their salaries, or their repatriation. The sponsors refused to pay anything because they had already paid a lot to bring the workers to the recruitment offices including fees, travel tickets, etc. In turn, the Employment Office refused to take responsibility.
The government was unable to repatriate every expatriate who had a dispute with the sponsor mainly on rights of each party therefore the authorities were forced to expand the shelters to host hundreds of foreign workers who sometimes remain there for a few months.
Although the good living conditions provided by the Public Manpower Authority in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh shelter, we noticed during a visit that boredom is almost killing the inmates.
The Kuwait Human Friendship Society paid another visit to the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Shelter, perhaps the governor of the area does not know about its condition or location, and we hope that he would pay a visit and take care of its condition especially its exterior.
We facilitated the return of many female workers to their countries of origin. The society purchased the tickets for them after the approval of the concerned authorities which showed full cooperation with us.
The Kuwait Human Friendship Society also purchased and donated a variety of equipment and sports items such as ping pong tables and others to the center which accommodates more than 400 ‘girls’, to help them spend a good time until their problems are solved.
The Ministry of Interior has done its best by deciding to stop the recruitment of workers from the African countries mentioned above, in addition to a number of others such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, etc, except under strict conditions.
In order to preserve the reputation of the state, we believe that it is necessary to establish strict and clear regulations to control the ‘mafia’ of the home employment recruiting offices. Some of these offices have harmed Kuwait a lot and must shoulder their responsibilities when the contracting process fails, and the matter between the sponsor and the worker is settled, and cover the expenses of repatriation.
On the other hand, the Kuwait Human Friendship Society, in light of its humanitarian role, has facilitated the return of a large number of workers who were sent to deportation, and purchased tickets for them and their children, with some gifts.
By Ahmad alsarraf