Hu­man traf­fick­ing con­tin­ues

Southasia - - -

The Mal­dives re­mains on the U.S. State Depart­ment’s Tier 2 Watch List for hu­man traf­fick­ing, a list sig­ni­fy­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of vic­tims but pro­vid­ing lit­tle ev­i­dence of in­creased ef­forts to tackle the prob­lem.

Mi­grant work­ers from Bangladesh and to a lesser ex­tent, In­dia, are be­ing sub­jected to forced la­bor in the Mal­dives, pri­mar­ily in the con­struc­tion and ser­vice sec­tors, while women and girls are also be­ing sub­jected to sex traf­fick­ing, the re­port said.

Up to 110,000 for­eign work­ers in the coun­try, who make a third of the pop­u­la­tion “face con­di­tions in­dica­tive of forced la­bor: fraud­u­lent re­cruit­ment prac­tices, con­fis­ca­tion of iden­tity and travel doc­u­ments, with­hold­ing or non­pay­ment of wages, or debt bondage,” the re­port not- ed, adding that 30,000 work­ers had no le­gal sta­tus in the coun­try.

Bangladeshi na­tion­als are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to la­bor traf­fick­ing, hav­ing paid be­tween U.S. $1000 and U.S. $4000 in ‘re­cruit­ment fees’, the re­port stated.

Do­mes­tic traf­fick­ing was also ob­served, whereby some un­der­age Mal­di­vian chil­dren were trans­ported to Male’ from other is­lands for forced do­mes­tic ser­vice. The U.S. State Depart­ment’s re­port was crit­i­cal of the Mal­dives for hu­man traf­fick­ing and noted that it had not in­ves­ti­gated or pros­e­cuted any traf­fick­ing-re­lated of­fences de­spite the scale of the prob­lem.

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