A quick glance at where one works, goes shopping or visits the hospital for a medical checkup, one will find so many people who had been victims of human trafficking and exploitation that some of us are unaware of. Most porters, cleaners or kitchen labor in various ministries are Indians and Bangladeshis living under extreme conditions with salaries between KD 60 and 120 for 16 hours a week. And just imagine them going back to their accommodation where 4-6 people live in one room. They only have 30 days off a year and have to pay for their own flight tickets.
All the above is complete injustice and dreadful human tragedy that even exceeds those poor workers. In fact, it also includes hospital staff with higher degrees who are also subject to human trafficking such as Indian nurses recruited on condition that they pay KD 9,000 as a commission to the company that brings them to Kuwait and deducts monthly cuts from their salaries over two years to pay that commission off. The same applies to other staffs including technicians, pharmacists and others paying different commissions according to their salaries.
A nurse is paid KD 600-700 and if he or she happens to be married and their families live in Kuwait, they have to pay at least KD 250 for rent leaving them with only KD 100-200, which is barely enough to live though nursing staffs in particular should not go through such tension or hardships. The commission they pay turns their life into hell. The same tragedy applies for security guards in various hotels or ministries. They have to work for 13-16 hours receiving no more than KD 120 without any breaks, weekends or leaves on official occasions.
They have their salaries deducted even if they take one day off. They also live in tragic accommodations without any privacy. Major merchants belonging to the largest Kuwaiti families are trading in human beings. What is happening in Kuwait is a real tragedy. Even after you read my article in this burning summer heat and while going home, you will see the painful scene of ice cream vendors standing under extreme heat for hours to sell ice cream for very cheap prices while you, the customer, sit in the convenience of your air-conditioned vehicle complaining about the heat!
I feel pain when seeing such scenes on a daily basis. There is an example of violating someone’s humanity everywhere, though this someone had only come to Kuwait with dreams of providing his family with a decent living. He thought of Kuwait as the land of wealth and dreams. He never knew that the moment he lands here, he would have to let go of his humanity and say goodbye to sleep and comfort for years to come. This country that reaches out with benevolence worldwide is full of images violating the humanity of the hardworking expatriate laborers. –Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Jarida
By Arwa Al-Waqian