Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 10:51 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kuwait

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kuwait, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d84ec.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
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 3)

Kuwait is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked primarily from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka for the purpose of labor exploitation. Some foreign women who migrate legally to Kuwait as domestic workers are subsequently abused by their employers or coerced into situations of debt bondage or involuntary servitude. Some domestic workers are trafficked within the country for sexual and labor exploitation. Some underage boys from South Asia, the Sudan, Yemen, and Eritrea are trafficked from neighboring Gulf States to work as camel jockeys. Victims suffer debt bondage, involuntary sexual servitude, coerced labor, verbal and physical abuse, and the withholding of their passports or other required travel documents.

The Government of Kuwait does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government failed to take significant steps to address trafficking, particularly efforts to prosecute trafficking crimes and protect victims. It did, however, in 2004 establish a law banning the employment of children as camel jockeys, and welcomed opportunities to cooperate with the U.S. on anti-trafficking activities. The Government of Kuwait issued public declarations against trafficking, but there is no evidence of judicial action against traffickers, despite ongoing reporting of physical and sexual abuse of domestic workers, physical abuse of laborers, and physical abuse and exploitation of trafficked child camel jockeys. Kuwait should take immediate and significant steps to stop these abuses by investigating, arresting, and prosecuting those that are criminally implicated. The government should take immediate and verifiable actions to rescue, repatriate, and reintegrate children trafficked as camel jockeys. Camel racing is not a major sport in Kuwait; therefore, the number of camel jockeys in the country is not large. Kuwait should also take steps to protect the rights of its huge domestic workforce by extending them protection under Kuwait's labor laws or through other appropriate mechanisms. Additionally, the government needs to develop and implement tools such as an anti-trafficking national plan of action, comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, and prevention and protection measures that include broad anti-trafficking public campaigns.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, Kuwait took limited actions to investigate and prosecute traffickers. Kuwait does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, it has used existing statutes to prosecute some trafficking and related crimes. Penalties range from three to ten years imprisonment for kidnapping or inducing prostitution to capital punishment for rape. In 2004, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, referred more than 2,000 labor disputes – 20 percent of the total complaints received – to the Prosecutor General for review, but the final disposition of these cases is unknown. Despite a law banning the employment and exploitation of foreign children as camel jockeys, the practice unofficially continues and there is no evidence of prosecution of these offenses. In 2004, Kuwait enacted statutes that require tracking payment of wages by employers. It also prohibited the practice of deducting three month's salary from newly arrived employees to cover recruitment expenses. However, the governmental body charged with enforcing this provision is not adequately staffed.

Protection

Kuwait made minimal efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. Domestic workers are not covered by Kuwait's Labor Law and, as a result, lack adequate legal protections. The government continues to detain, jail, and deport trafficking victims caught violating other laws material to their trafficking (e.g. violating immigration laws). The police continued returning some victims to their abusive employers. Occasionally, the government provided limited financial aid to victims, including airfare or chartering aircraft for repatriation, but it did not provide shelter or temporary residence permits to allow victims to pursue criminal or civil complaints against abusive employers. There is no evidence that during the reporting period the government rescued and repatriated any child camel jockey trafficking victim.

Prevention

In 2004, Kuwait initiated efforts to prevent trafficking. In March 2004, the Government of Kuwait established an inter-ministerial taskforce to address problems related to expatriate manpower agencies and domestic laborers. The Ministry of Interior oversees the Immigration Intelligence Department and the Domestic Labor Administration, which license, monitor and inspect recruitment agencies that bring in foreign workers. The Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), an association of labor recruitment agencies, worked with the government to ensure the passage of statutes designed to prevent exploitation of incoming domestic workers. Additionally, in an effort to minimize labor disputes, the Union produced and distributed brochures highlighting the rights and obligations of domestic workers and employers, provided basic training and orientation to prospective employees in household work, and facilitated change of employers for some domestic workers.

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