Bahrain reveals drive to tackle human trafficking
Manama, October 6, 2008
An investigation into the extent of human trafficking in Bahrain's hotels will get underway next month.
Hoteliers will be summoned to meet government officials and experts to discuss the prevalence of the problem and come up with solutions, our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News has learnt.
It is described as one of the first major steps in tackling human trafficking in the country's service sector and seeks to educate rather than prosecute offenders.
Hotels are being specifically targeted by the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, which has appointed a subcommittee to study the issue.
All hoteliers in Bahrain will be asked to attend next month's workshop on trafficking, which is being organised in co-ordination with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
"We still do not know the extent of human trafficking prevailing in this sector," said committee member and Information Ministry Tourism Affairs head of monitoring Ali Saeed.
"Bahrain has already passed an anti-human trafficking law and we want to educate the hotel industry on the importance of implementing the law in this vital sector."
Saeed said human trafficking was widely prevalent in the hotel industry, which employs thousands of foreign workers.
"The first meeting of the National Committee, held at the Foreign Ministry, decided to make an in-depth study on the problem prevailing in Bahrain in general and in the hotel industry in particular," he added.
"The meeting was chaired by the committee chairman Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa."
Using women for organised prostitution and employing under-aged girls in hotels are both considered to be human trafficking, said Saeed.
"The law also defines various other forms of human trafficking," he explained.
"The study will focus on the extent of the problem in the hotel industry and the steps to be taken to combat this menace."
Saeed said he hoped the problem could be better solved by educating the parties concerned, rather than punishing them.
"The workshop is the first step in this education campaign," he added.
"We shall invite experts from the IOM to conduct the training."
He added that he believed Bahrain had already achieved a lot in combating human trafficking.
"The new campaign is aimed to improve our position further globally," said Saeed. - TradeArabia News Service