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‘Sexual slavery cases very limited’ – Interior, state agencies pay attention to human trafficking

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Colonel Haitham Al-Othman, Director of the Public Ethics and Combating Human Trafficking Department

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 23: Colonel Haitham Al-Othman, Director of the Department of Public Ethics and Combating Trafficking in Persons, said the Ministry of Interior and all state agencies have paid attention to cases of human trafficking, which contributed to Kuwait moving from the third grade to second grade on the report of the “US Department of Human Trafficking,” stressing that the Ministry of Interior and the rest of the organs of the state are in the process of acquiring Grade One for Kuwait by putting an end to such kind of activity which is unacceptable to Kuwait, reports Al-Anba daily.

He pointed out that the issues that fall under the human trafficking category are mostly due to lack of knowledge or understanding because most of these issues are ‘issues between the sponsor and the sponsored’, at the same time stressing that the so-called sexual slavery cases are very limited but most of the issues are related to non-payment of salaries or abuse of the expatriates or confiscation of their freedoms, and said no one is above the law and that all complaints are being investigated.

With regard to public morals and the limits of the work Colonel Al-Othman stressed that all citizens and residents are committed to respecting the customs and traditions, and that the freedom of the person ceases if he harms the freedoms of others.

He added the Department of Vice Crimes is ready to receive any communications or inconvenience complaints and deal with them quickly and urgently without any hesitation. He revealed a work team closely monitors everything that is published in the social media and takes action if what is published is found to be abusive.

He pointed out that the vice squad periodically pursues such crimes and seizes those involved in immoral acts and refer them to deportation center and to the judiciary. For her part, the head of the Human Trafficking Department, Lt Col Amal Al- Awadi, touched on the Law 91 of 2013 regarding trafficking in people and smuggling of migrants, noting that recruiting, using, harboring, or coercing people to work by using force, threatening, or exploiting a state of vulnerability or forced labor fall under human trafficking.

As for enslaved labor, she said, it is the employment of the person without giving money in exchange for the work, as well as taking the signature of the worker on promissory notes or receipts under threat as well as seizing his freedom. She added the crimes of sexual harassment are very limited. As for the high rates of men as victims in cases of human trafficking in Kuwait, Al-Awadi said Kuwait is a polarizing country for employment, as most of these cases are of men and the problem with this type of crime is that it is committed outside Kuwait, meaning that money is paid by expatriates to others to bag a work contract and entry fee, and the worker comes and does not find a job, and is rarely considered evidence that the worker paid an amount in his country.

In view of all this, “we find ourselves unable to refer the matter to the judiciary, which needs certain evidence, but sometimes we find that the worker has been left without work, and we find a way out for him based on his compulsion to perform acts similar to slavery, and I confirm that if the worker proves to us and with evidence legal procedures will be initiated immediately and the matter will be referred to the judiciary.

As for the evidences to be submitted by the worker, Al-Awadi said “First, I would like to point out that any expatriate who pays money just to get a job in Kuwait automatically becomes a partner in the crime.” In terms of domestic servants being treated inhumanly, it includes not eating with the family, sleep in an inappropriate space (in the kitchen or under stairs) subjected to insults, ill-treatment, threats, violence, and in many cases the employers filing a runaway report although the person is still living with the sponsor. It also includes feeding the domestic workers leftover food, preventing them day off and not allowed to leave the home except with their employer.

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