By Sarah Townsend
Committee will seek to recruit volunteers from various foreign embassies to take calls
Bahrain is planning to set up a national hotline to help victims of human trafficking.
The hotline will also aim to resolve other complaints typically raised by Bahrain’s expat community, including withholding of passports, physical abuse, non-payment of wages and other labour violations.
Details of the initiative were announced on Sunday during a meeting of Bahrain’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, reported the Gulf Daily News.
The committee will seek to recruit volunteers from various foreign embassies to take calls, committee chairman, Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) chief executive Ausamah Al Absi, said.
It was reported that the hotline will hire a group of multilingual volunteers and operate from 7am to 2pm initially, and 24 hours once enough volunteers come forward.
Any serious complaints will be referred to the Interior Ministry for action.
“We do not have a serious issue of trafficking, but we are committed to have a set of mechanisms to deal with honourable members of the society,” Al Absi was quoted as saying.
Bahrain investigated 30 human trafficking cases between April 2012 and March 2013, according to a report published last year by the US State Department’s report on Trafficking in Persons.
At the time Bahrain was placed on the ‘Tier 2’ watchlist for the third consecutive year, meaning the government “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however, is making significant efforts to do so”, Gulf Daily News said.
Countries that do not comply with minimum standards are placed in Tier 3 and subject to US sanctions.