Kuwait on Tier 3 for 6th consecutive year.
Kuwait is a destination country for men and women who are subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser degree, forced prostitution. Men and women migrate from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Iraq to work in Kuwait, mainly in the domestic service, construction, and sanitation sectors. Although most of these migrants enter Kuwait voluntarily, upon arrival their sponsors and labor agents subject some migrants to conditions of forced labor, including nonpayment of wages, long working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. While Kuwait requires a standard contract for domestic workers delineating their rights, many workers report work conditions that are substantially different from those described in the contract; some workers never see the contract at all. Many of the migrant workers arriving for work in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labor broker fees in Kuwait that, by Kuwaiti law, should be paid for by the employer – a practice that makes workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in Kuwait. Due to provisions of Kuwait’s sponsorship law that restrict workers’ movements and penalize workers for running away from abusive workplaces, domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to forced labor inside private homes. In addition, media sources report that runaway domestic workers fall prey to forced prostitution by agents who exploit their illegal status. Continue reading