An Overwhelming Majority of Kenyan Migrants Experience Workplace Abuse in Gulf States
Almost all Kenyan migrant workers returning from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates report being victims of forced labor, a new NORC study finds. Of 1,020 respondents, 98.73 percent said they experienced at least one of four categories of labor abuse or were unable to leave an abusive workplace for fear of serious repercussions. Specifically, 65.20 percent spoke of experiencing physical or sexual violence, 97.45 percent said their freedom was restricted, 96.76 percent told of abusive or coercive employment practices, and 98.43 percent recounted working in a deceptive, unfair, or unsafe environment. Researchers estimate that this population’s rate of forced labor in the GCC is 98.24 percent, meaning that practically every Kenyan migrant worker headed there will be exploited. The study used Nairobi metropolitan-area census data and included a new, innovative approach to achieving population estimates. It is one of two recent Kenyan projects NORC is conducting for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.
“Employment-based abuses are not uncommon among migrant workers from developing countries. However, the rates we discovered in our study are truly rare, if not unprecedented, and call for massive systemic efforts to address the situation.”
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