Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 12:25 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kuwait

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kuwait, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Kuwait (Tier 2)

Kuwait is a destination country for women from who are put into situations of coerced labor, where they may endure physical abuse or other extreme working conditions. Victims come primarily from Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. They may have their passports withheld, contracts altered, and suffer non-payment of salaries. Some male foreign laborers kidnap runaway maids and force them into prostitution. Boys reportedly are trafficked from Bangladesh and Pakistan to be camel jockeys.

The Government of Kuwait does not meet the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking in persons; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government is strongest in preventing abuse of domestic servants and prosecuting those involved in trafficking. The government needs to take additional steps to ensure that children are not used in camel races and protect victims of trafficking.


The government established an interministerial task force to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. The government works actively with labor attaches from source country embassies to resolve cases of labor contract disputes and cases involving the abuse of domestic servants. Foreign workers' contracts are based on standardized contracts provided by the Ministry of Interior that clearly explain the rights and responsibilities of the employer and the employee. A foreign worker may not obtain a visa to Kuwait without presenting a contract signed by the employer and employee. The Camel Racing Club mandates that all camel jockeys must be 18 years of age or older to minimize the chances that children would be involved in these races.


The government does not have a law specifically criminalizing trafficking in persons. There are laws against slavery, forced labor, coercion, rape, assault, kidnapping, prostitution, inducing or assisting others to commit prostitution, pandering and/or operating a brothel, and the exploitation of prostitution by means of coercion or fraud. Law enforcement investigates cases of mistreatment of foreign workers and allegations of abuse. In addition to criminal remedies, through administrative measures and mediation under labor law, the government allows and assists domestic servants and foreign workers to seek redress against traffickers. It is illegal to withhold a foreign worker's passport; however, enforcement of this is mixed. The government has taken individual employers and companies to court for non-payment of wages and blacklists employers who do not fulfill their responsibilities. Over 4,000 Kuwaiti sponsors have been blacklisted from sponsoring domestic workers due to their failure to provide prescribed benefits. Persons convicted of heading prostitution rings or forcing women into prostitution face long jail sentences, deportation, and, in severe cases, death. Last year the Criminal Court sentenced a Bangladeshi man to death for kidnapping, raping, and forcing two women into prostitution. Police also arrested a Bangladeshi pimp for running several brothels. He admitted to kidnapping several Asian women, mostly runaway maids, and forcing them into prostitution. The penalties for rape or forcible sexual assault range from five years to life imprisonment, or, in severe cases, death. Victims of trafficking may file a criminal complaint or a civil suit against their employers. There is no evidence of government involvement in trafficking. The government adequately monitors its borders, but does not monitor immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.


The government sponsors a center that assists domestics who have complaints against their employer that is staffed by female lawyers who help resolve labor dispute and ensure that employers meet contractual obligations. Disputes arise frequently, and the vast majority of problems are resolved through mediation. In addition, the government opened a conciliation center attached to a police station so that runaway domestics can file complaints against their employer. Many source country embassies harbor runaway domestics. The government works with foreign governments on trafficking when cases are brought to their attention. Victims of trafficking may be treated as criminals and are detained, jailed, or deported if they are violating other laws, such as those governing immigration or prostitution.

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