Muna Al-Fuzai

Despite official statements that usually reject and condemn the crime of human trafficking and exploitation of poor people for money by bringing them from their countries under false work contracts, this devastating offense still occurs. Recently, it ended with the death of a poor Egyptian man. He came to work in Kuwait to start a new life, but ended it here.

The worker threw himself from the tenth floor trying to escape from security men who surrounded the residence where he lived with a number of workers in Ahmadi governorate, after a complaint was filed against them by the manager of the company that brought them to Kuwait. His death revealed all secrets!

Investigations disclosed that the officials of the company involved in trade and contracting took up to $5,000 to bring Arab expatriates to Kuwait and left them without actual work. Later, the workers found themselves in a big problem, after they had paid this large sum of money to get a job. Some of them had sold everything they owned. They had no idea that the offer was fake and there was no job for them at all. When they demanded the company abide by the contracts they signed with them, the company abandoned them and told them to go back to their country. But what about the money that these poor people paid?!

Local dailies said the authorities will refer officials of this company to the judiciary to face charges related to human trafficking. Also, the manpower authority has opened an investigation into the death of the Egyptian who jumped from the tenth floor. A number of his friends were called in for questioning and they confirmed that the company had taken money ranging between KD 1,500 and KD 1,700 in exchange for work contracts that later turned out to be fake and left them without real jobs.

Egyptian expats form the largest Arab community in Kuwait, which has a population of more than four million people, in which the proportion of expats is more than twice the number of citizens. This is why rules regarding labor must be tightened and no manipulation should be allowed.

I believe that it is not only about a worker who committed suicide or a company that stole money from workers. I am surprised why the society does not reject these practices that are harmful to us and as a country, by not allowing such things to happen from the onset and making sure that no company exploits its influence to earn money at the expense of the poor.

March witnessed a gathering by a number of Arab workers in front of their country’s embassy in Kuwait to ask it to intervene to resolve their problems after they fell victim to fraud by a company that did not adhere to the contracts they agreed on and did not pay them their wages.

I hope the ministry of social affairs and public authority for manpower have an official and immediate stand to close the file of the company until the investigation is completed, and the name of any company that acts in such a manner should be announced publicly. Also, the number of workers who came through this company and the reasons for the dispute should be revealed as a lesson and warning to possible newcomers. This issue will need the authorities in Kuwait to take a decisive stance.