Bahrain: UN human trafficking expert gives mixed report after fact-finding visit

1 November 2006

While Bahrain has taken measures to address human trafficking, much remains to be done to implement its international obligations, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today at the end of a four-day fact-finding visit.

While Bahrain has taken measures to address human trafficking, much remains to be done to implement its international obligations, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today at the end of a four-day fact-finding visit.

UN Special Rapporteur on human trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Sigma Huda, praised Bahrain for recognizing human trafficking as a problem and drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law bill due to be enacted shortly.

But she said a significant number of people, including women, are trafficked into the country to work in private homes, hotel rooms or labour camps, and their plight remains virtually unknown to a large part of society. She also found that victims’ access to justice over complaints of mistreatment is lacking.

“Domestic workers who flee situations of exploitation and abuse are frequently re-victimized,” she said. “In many cases these victims end up in a detention centre before being deported, while the perpetrators enjoy impunity.”

The Government’s creation of a safe house to accommodate victims of abuse and exploitation was a positive development, but viewing the magnitude of the problem, Bahrain needs to assure that more such safe houses are created, she added.

Ms. Huda was particularly concerned about the estimated 300,000 domestic migrant workers, about 50,000 of them women, and also about girls recruited by agencies in countries of origin and in Bahrain that falsify the ages of minors.

In light of the fact that some “entertainers” or “artists” brought into Bahrain end up in prostitution, Ms. Huda called upon consulates of sending countries to protect the human rights of their nationals by setting up comprehensive protection programmes.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid independent advisory experts with a mandate from the Human Rights Council who also make periodic reports to the General Assembly.

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.