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The Recurring Problem of Human Trafficking

04/04/2012

Along with a range of age old issues, even slavery has taken a more contemporary form in the 21st century and it is dangerously spreading, affecting all the areas of the world. The MENA region is no a exception to this.  Of the different and prevalent forms of human trafficking in the Middle East some affect women more than man – such as domestic servitude, forced labour and sex trafficking.

One of the main human trafficking problems in the Middle East is that of migrant workers. To put it simply – trafficking is fraudulent scheme that promises ne thing and delivers quite the opposite to the individuals involved. These people are mainly from Asian states are tricked into coming to the Middle East. When they get to their promised destination they find themselves in a forced labour situation or working for very low wages. They are sometimes physically or verbally assaulted by their employer. This has led to suicides amongst the Ethiopian worker population in Lebanon.  More recently, civil society organisations in Lebanon have been advocating for the legislation of laws protecting migrant workers.

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation is another phenomena occurring in the Middle East. One aspect of Sharia prohibits the legislation of a law explicitly criminalising prostitution or the even the collection of data regarding temporary marriages.  These marriages are thought to be a means through which prostitution is legalised as woman have few rights and the husband decides when the marriage ends.  In other situations, women are lured in by gangs or trafficked from eastern European countries.

The issue of human trafficking is more so one of implementation rather than one of legislation. While civil society efforts are much appreciated, one should ask what about the implementation of these laws.