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Sat 11 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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GCC under fire from US over migrant workers

A report published by the US State Department has severely criticised the exploitation of migrant workers in four of the GCC countries.

The US State Department has slammed the exploitation of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

And it has warned all four of the countries that they could face sanctions if they do not make moves to address the issue of human trafficking.

The four GCC states were among a group of 14 countries that came under fire in the State Department report. Only Oman and Bahrain escaped censure in the report. It said governments allowed companies to exploit low-paid foreign workers, while withholding passports and sometimes pay.

The State Department described the labour abuses as “involuntary servitude, a severe form of trafficking.”

Countries including Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, Rwanda and China all fared better in the report than the four GCC countries.

There are approximately 10 million Arab expatriate residents in the Gulf, many of whom are employed by the construction industry.

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