Modern slavery refers to the slavery that continues to take place in today’s world. The estimate of people who are a part of slavery would be around 21 million to 29 million to this date. Modern slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry which generates almost $35 billion per annum. Although slavery is found to be illegal and unlawful in almost every country, it is STILL found present in most of the countries, which is disheartening to see. Slavery found in parts of the world has many types from bonded labor to sex slavery to forced migrant labor or early OR forced marriage to child labor. All these are considered as slavery and people experiencing these are said to be slaves.
After spending more than ten years each in Gulf countries, I realized how terrible the weather of these countries is. It is hot, humid and suffocating for people like us. But the thousands and thousands of construction workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh don’t feel the same way. It hurts to see how they are only paid $15 per day for doing work like carrying bricks on their backs in heavy heat, for 8-12 hours per day. Besides their pay, it is disrespectful how employers take advantage of workers who can’t read and are forced to sign contracts which they have absolutely no clue about. They are forced to stay in small and suffocated rooms which are cramped up by other workers.
They are made to live far away from their family and are never able to know what is happening back home as they are working day and night, night and day, thousands of miles away from their beloved ones just so that their family doesn’t go to sleep hungry. Having their pay kept at the Western Union poverty line, trade unions are banned in the many countries so these slaves can’t even voice their opinions out. Employers trick these employees by keeping their passports and basically never letting them go back. They are forcefully made to stay and work for them and decent working conditions are just NOT a part of this contract.
Several groups like the ILO, Human Rights watch etc. have tried to spread awareness on this case and while we expats read these articles and attend these seminars pretty often, we never empathize about the exploitation of poor and helpless workers. All of us people eventually go back to our daily routines without bothering about these workers. Some people give an excuse for this act that maybe these workers don’t have a job available back home and as long as the employer is giving them food and shelter, they are good to go. I find this argument extremely pointless and sad!
We see no change coming in this case anytime soon however individuals like bloggers, journalists, teachers, professors, ambassadors and imams can always help out by spreading the word and making people aware. The social media is a strong mean of communication and it should be put to its best use to voice out the struggles and hardships these workers have to go through.
Job Continuation under Saudi Labor Law
- Rights of Expatriates in Saudi Arabia
- Compensation in case of Work Injury as per Saudi Labor Law
- Right of Air Ticket as per Saudi Labor Law
- Rules regarding Emergency Leave in Saudi Arabia
- Rule for Salary Increment in Saudi Arabia