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Human trafficking in Saudi Arabia has a major role internationally, women from Asian and African countries are trafficked here as well. Men and women for both forced labor and prostitution purposes, even girls as young as seven years old are trafficked into Saudi Arabia for the same purpose. Though the government is doing everything within its power to eliminate human trafficking in Saudi Arabia, then take an international approach. Will human trafficking ever go away or will this be a temporary change in Saudi Arabia and internationally? Can we really eliminate human trafficking for good and if they cannot control their own country, how could they control someone else’s?
The U.S state department says that Saudi Arabia is a well-known destination country for men women and children to be trafficked for the purpose of involuntary servitude and to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. This is an ongoing problem within the Syrians control, they have a handful of human traffickers in Saudi Arabia and from other countries through the government has a lot of executions, prosecutions, and convictions that need to be done. The government has started to take the proper measures to decrease the human trafficking activity they’ve done so by creating an anti-trafficking law that will prevent these women, children, and men from being trafficked in Saudi Arabia.
According to Sarah Zimmerman of Washing University Global Studies of Law, she states that forced labor in Saudi Arabia typically involves women and children being sold into servitude by the means of violence and deprivation. The international community recognizes the trafficking of women and children as a modern form of slavery, mainly from Asian states, are tricked into coming to the Middle East, where they find themselves in a forced labor situation or working for very low wages. The traffickers trap their victims by coercion, force or fraud. The forced labor migrant workers are especially prevalent in the oil-rich Persian Gulf states such as Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. That’s workers who are frequently held to pay off the debt they have accumulated from the cost of housing and travel. Within 20 years, there have been 200,000 persons of Asian countries to be trafficked into Saudi Arabia, making this a major international problem.
And of course, the Arabians also trafficked women and children for sexual exploitation, forcing them into prostitution or sexual enslavement, traffickers in this industry often lure desperate young women with the promise of a better paying job or higher education into a destination country where their documentation and passports are forcibly taken from them as soon as they arrive. Some of these young women are attracted to the sex industry because it appears to offer quick and easy money, but these women often find themselves in slave-like situations. Once trafficked into the sex industry, the traffickers control the women through physical and psychological means. The Saudi government also requires foreign citizens with work or residency permits to obtain an exit visa before leaving the country. While withholding passports is illegal, it’s rarely enforced, these combined practices have presented problems in the labor trafficking context because employers are an integral part of obtaining an exit visa, thus many victims find themselves trapped, says Sarah Zimmerman of Washington University Global Studies of Law. But poverty also has a major effect on human trafficking in Saudi Arabia, human trafficking is a market fueled by principles of supply and demand, therefore where there is poverty there is likely supply to meet the growing demand for sexual entertainment. Economic vulnerability increases the likelihood of women becoming sexual commodities for wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf area. Although there are overwhelming social implications, there also seems to be regional financial patterns that perpetuate this trend, Fewer work opportunities for women have led to prostitution as an alternative, says The UN Refugee Agency.
I believe the government should have stricter regulations, the government of Saudi Arabia should provide their citizens a safer environment, they should create more job opportunities and they should definitely put an end to human trafficking in Saudi Arabia. If the government continues to enforce their anti-trafficking law with harsh punishments I do believe the number of traffickers will decrease tremendously. The government has a long way to come before human trafficking is completely gone in Saudi Arabia, let alone internationally, because of its poverty level and the demand of sexual slaves, forced laborers it’s no surprise why Saudi Arabia is a well-known destination country of human trafficking. Though the government has created a way to help decrease the activity of human trafficking, there needs to be much more done.
“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity, we must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals but the foundational values of society."
Back in 2009, the Saudi Arabia government created their anti-trafficking law, in hopes of decreasing the activity of the increased demand of human trafficking, the government has been making tremendous efforts to so with their anti-trafficking law and creating harsh punishments such as 15 years of imprisonment and financial penalties of up to one million Saudi Arabia riyal (SAR) ($266,670), which may increase under certain circumstances, including trafficking committed by an organized criminal group or against a women, child or person with disabilities. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes such as rape. During the reporting period, the government reported investigations and public prosecutions 264 human trafficking cases back in 2016, which involved forced labor, practices similar to slavery, sexual exploitation and forced begging.
Of these convicted 254 defendants under the anti-trafficking law, compared to 243 prosecutions and convictions in the previous reporting period, says The UN Refugee Agency. The number of traffickers has decreased compared to when the anti-trafficking law wasn’t created, the government continue to make efforts by more prosecutions, convictions and deportations of traffickers. According to Saad Al-Saad from the Arab News, he states that the Saudi Arabia government has reaffirmed its strong rejection of human trafficking and promised to double efforts to eliminate in the international community as well, by ratifying international convections of human trafficking. Countries around the world and international organizations are specializing in human trafficking, They have sought to develop mechanisms and issue laws to deter the crime and reduce its economic, physiological and economic efforts. The committee also promotes awareness and takes social and economic initiatives to prevent human trafficking, in coordination with all concerned authorities. Al-Sadd also mentions that due to an increase in the number and intensity of conflicts, especially in the Middle East, there have been noticeable higher incidents of human trafficking, especially among displaced Syrians. It’s very unfortunate that criminals exploited the vulnerability and needs of refugees and their dire humanitarian situation for personal gain. This situation has forced many victims to try to cope by giving up their dignity and humanity, he said. “The crime of trafficking is exploitation of man by man, it’s the slavery of the 21st century,” says politician Luis Alberto Sanchez.
The government continues to create awareness of human trafficking, however, will this really put an end to human trafficking? Or will it make the traffickers think smarter so they cannot get caught and they can continue to traffic these people and children for their selfish needs? Will it really stop anything within Saudi Arabia’s country yet alone internationally or will it just make a small impact because of its poverty levels and its demand and supply of traffickers.
The Saudi Arabia government have come up with a way to decrease the activity of human trafficking in both their home country and internationally, with their anti-trafficking law in effect and its harsh punishments such as penalty fees and jail time up to 15 years or more depending on the circumstances. I am pleased to state that human trafficking will no longer be an issue in Saudi Arabia or internationally, the government is taking proper precautions to eliminate it and create awareness of it, with the ongoing decreasing number of activity a decade will past, and Saudi Arabia will no longer be a well-known destination country of human trafficking.