Saudi passes law to fight human trafficking
Riyadh, July 14, 2009
Saudi Arabia passed a law on Monday to fight human trafficking under which traffickers face up to 15 years in prison or 1 million riyals ($266,700) in fines or both, the official news agency SPA said.
The law, approved by the Cabinet, also creates a body to combat human trafficking and help victims return to their home countries or stay in the kingdom.
Last year, the US State Department ranked Saudi Arabia along with fellow Gulf states Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, among the worst in failing to combat human trafficking.
Since the 1970s expatriate workers have formed the backbone of the economies of Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter.
Rights groups say many of these workers are exploited by traffickers who bring them to the region with false promises about wages and benefits, while they have few rights and depend on their employers during their stay in these countries.
Some 7 million of Saudi Arabia's population of 25 million are expatriates.
Other Gulf states such as Oman, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates have passed laws to combat human trafficking. - Reuters