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More employers to face human trafficking charges
May 13, 2014, 6:20 am
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Kuwait's Minister of Social Affairs and labor Hind Al-Sabeeh.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor prepares to take legal action against companies involved in human trafficking for the second time this month, minister Hind Al-Subaih announced.

The companies will be questioned for failure to provide physical jobs for workers they recruit from outside; a practice generally known as visa trafficking. “We felt that we cannot show leniency towards employers who violate article 10 of paragraph 2 of the labor law, which indicates that an employer cannot recruit workers from outside, then fail to provide jobs for them, or it turns out that the company is not actually in need for them,” Subaih said Sunday.

She spoke to Al- Jarida daily reporter from Amman where she participated in an Arab conference over sustainable development. Subaih was set to arrive to Kuwait soon, and plans to meet with ministry officials this morning in order to discuss proper measures to press charges with the Public Prosecution, the minister said.

Inspection teams discovered large numbers of workers hired by the companies involved, but were working for other employers. In addition, some companies were discovered to have no existing offices at the address mentioned in their license. If convicted, the employers face jail terms ranging between 15 years and life in prison, Subaih confirmed.

The minister had announced on May 4 that files for 34 employers were referred to the Public Prosecution to be questioned over trafficking accusations.

A total of 2,469 companies were referred by the ministry during the first quarter of 2014 alone, compared to around 250 questioned based on the ministry’s recommendation throughout the past few years, Al- Jarida reported.

Subaih had also announced that the ministry canceled visas of 3,325 workers out of 8,264 registered on companies questioned so far this year.

Hiring in the private sector is currently suspended as the Public Labor Authority prepares to become fully operational sometime this month, according to local newspaper reports.

The authority will have exclusive powers to hire, sponsor and provide labor forces to companies on demand, effectively phasing out the flawed sponsorship system in the process.

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