Kuwait Remains in Tier 2 Human Trafficking List

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KUWAIT CITY, June 27: Kuwait remained in Tier 2 in the US State Department’s report on human trafficking for the third year in a row, reports Al-Qabas daily. The daily obtained a copy of the report that stressed the need to strengthen the implementation of the national strategy of the Committee on Combating Human Trafficking; and intensify efforts in raising public awareness on measures to protect migrant workers and punish their traffickers, especially among vulnerable population groups, including domestic workers, as well as the employers, company owners and recruitment agencies.

While the report stated that the Kuwaiti government does not fully meet the minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking, it noted that the country is making significant efforts to do so, such as investigating, prosecuting, and convicting traffickers and identifying trafficking victims, as well as helping vulnerable migrants reach government shelters. The report noted that the government finalized and approved the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (NAP) and allocated resources for its implementation, including funding the National Referral System to Prevent Trafficking in Persons. However, the government did not show an overall increase in efforts compared to the previous reporting period.

The report noted that the government has not fully implemented the national referral system to prevent trafficking in persons, but the number of victims identified through follow-up at the shelter remained low because of the insufficient use of these procedures by officials. It added: “The government did not take new steps to reform the employer-based visa system, which continues to make migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation, specifically trafficking. Since the government allocated sufficient resources to a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute a major effort to meet the minimum standards, Kuwait was granted an exemption under the Trafficking Victims Protection Law from the required reduction to Tier 3, and therefore it remained at Tier 2 on the watch list for the third year in a row.”

The report recommended that male victims should be provided with dedicated protective services, including accommodation, define procedures for their access to care and ensure unhindered access, and disseminate a new policy to all officials to ensure that potential victims are not denied care. It also recommended strengthening domestic worker law enforcement by increasing domestic workers’ ability to file grievances with authorities, increasing inspections of registered and fraudulent employment agencies, and improving screening of domestic worker complaints to identify potential cases of labor trafficking. It called for reforms to the employer-based visa system, including allowing all workers to change employers any time and leave the country without the need for employer approval.

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