- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is “strongly pushing” for bringing in a law to combat human trafficking through an emergency decree before the next parliament is elected, a local newspaper reported yesterday. A draft law for the project was earlier presented by the Ministry of Justice to the parliament’s legislative and legal committee, but could not be discussed amid a political stalemate that saw no parliament sessions since June. “The draft law sets more deterrent penalties against violators that range from ten years imprisonment, life in prison to even a death sentence in cases where a worker is forced to commit illegal activities such as prostitution,” ministry insiders told Al-Jarida newspaper on Thursday.
The law also includes a stipulation that allows Kuwait to prosecute suspects who facilitate human trade inside Kuwait from countries that have extradition treaties with Kuwait, said the sources who wished to remain anonymous. Separately, undersecretary assistant for labor affairs Jamaal Al-Dousary denied any rumors hinting that the ministry is considering a decision that allows expatriate labor forces to switch employers without condition of any working period. The current law indicates that employees can request to transfer their residency one year after employment for workers with college degree, and three years for those with a lower academic qualification. Meanwhile, the director of the ministry’s Labor Department, Hadi Al-Enizy, told Al-Rai newspaper that fifteen security and cleaning companies were suspended following protests by workers who were not paid for months.
“The ministry ended the problem of labor protests through radical solutions that include suspended files of companies which fail to pay employees regularly, as well as strict monitoring of companies’ accounts in order to make sure that employees are being paid regularly,” Al-Enizy said. A third measure saw blacklisting violating companies “to disqualify them automatically from bidding for tenders placed by state departments,” he added. Al-Enizy, however, indicated that penalties are handed only after the ministry adopts due procedures to confirm that the violations were indeed committed. “The ministry attempts to help companies facing problems that prevent any firm to pay the employees regularly, and penalties are handed only after studying the reasons behind non payment,” Al-Enizy said.
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