Human trafficking continues
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.