Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jordan

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jordan, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3bb23.html [accessed 13 July 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.

Jordan (Tier 2)

Jordan is a destination and transit country for women and men from South and Southeast Asia trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation. Women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to work as domestic servants, but some are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude, including withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, extended working hours, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. In addition, Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi men and women face conditions of involuntary servitude in factories in Jordan's Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs); these workers encounter similar conditions of forced labor, including withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, extended working hours, lack of access to food, water, and medical care, and physical or sexual abuse. Jordan may serve as a transit country for South and Southeast Asian men deceptively recruited with fraudulent job offers in Jordan but instead trafficked to work involuntarily in Iraq.

The Government of Jordan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Though the government made noticeable efforts under its labor laws to investigate trafficking offenses, Jordan failed to criminally punish recruitment agents or factory managers who induced workers into involuntary servitude. In May, the Ministry of Labor established a Directorate for Foreign Domestic Workers, and in November, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed an anti-trafficking in persons coordinator in the Human Rights Directorate. The government should continue to enforce existing laws that address trafficking-related offenses. The government should ensure that victims are adequately protected and not deported, detained or otherwise punished as a result of being trafficked or having reported a crime committed against them.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, Jordan took insufficient steps to criminally punish trafficking offenses. Jordan does not specifically prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but the government prohibits slavery through its Anti-Slavery Law of 1929. Prescribed penalties of up to three years' imprisonment under this statute, however, are not sufficiently stringent or adequately reflective of the heinous nature of the crime. The government can use statutes against kidnapping, assault, and rape to prosecute abuses committed against foreign workers. The penalties that perpetrators are subject to under all the laws can be sufficiently deterrent if properly enforced.

This past year, the government reported receiving 40 complaints filed by foreign domestic workers for physical or sexual abuse by their employers, but of these cases, only two employers were convicted; the sentences imposed were only two to three months' imprisonment. Seven employers were found innocent, one case was dropped, and another 24 cases are still pending in courts. Despite well-documented evidence of serious cases of forced labor or involuntary servitude in the QIZs, the government responded primarily administrative penalties; labor inspectors cited 1,113 violations, issued 338 warnings, and closed eight factories permanently. Only three factory managers were criminally prosecuted for abusing workers, and none were adequately punished. Twenty police officers were trained this year in anti-trafficking techniques. Jordan should significantly increase criminal prosecutions for trafficking offenses.

Protection

Jordan made modest efforts to protect trafficking victims this year. The government neither encourages victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers nor provides them with legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Foreign domestic workers who run away from their employers are sometimes falsely charged by their employers. In addition, victims of sexual assault, including foreign domestic workers, may be put into "protective custody" that often amounts to detention. Jordan does not operate a shelter for trafficking victims. In the QIZs, the government moved 3,000 workers who were identified as trafficking victims into better working conditions; nonetheless, none of these victims were provided with medical or psychological assistance.

Prevention

Jordan made notable progress in preventing trafficking in persons this year. The Ministry of Labor, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the Adaleh Center for Human Rights, launched a media campaign to increase awareness of trafficking of foreign domestic workers. In addition, Jordan and UNIFEM established standardized contracts for domestic workers that delineate their rights and which are enforceable in Jordan. The Ministry of Labor also distributes UNIFEM-produced literature on the rights of foreign domestic workers in its offices and requires recruitment agencies to provide these booklets to workers in their own language upon their arrival. The government did not pursue similar measures for workers in the QIZ factories, but the Ministry of Labor commissioned an independent third party audit team to assess the situation in the factories so that it could respond appropriately. Jordan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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