Nepalese migrant workers: so much for the promised land

For just three times the average annual salary, you too could get a one-way ticket to Malaysia or the Gulf where you will work non-stop, with no rest days, for a measly salary (if you get one at all) without a contract, yet without the possibility of leaving and with the possibility of sexual abuse or physical assault.

Sound like something you’d be queuing up for? No, and unsurprisingly that is not how Nepalese recruitment companies advertise jobs abroad to vulnerable people looking to start a new life and make money by working in other countries such as the Gulf states and Malaysia.

Amnesty today published a hard-hitting report which laid bare the practice of luring people to work abroad with the promise of high pay and an improved quality of life. What they are met with is the complete opposite. Amnesty termed the process “trafficking for forced labour” and condemned the Nepalese authorities for allowing it to occur. We are calling for urgent action to stop the abuse taking place.

Workers are promised hefty salaries and so take out loans to afford the fees charged by recruitment agents. These crippling loans ensure that the workers are indebted to their employers. The practice of employers confiscating passports from workers is even endorsed by the recruitment companies as a means of ensuring that workers stay.

Amnesty’s report also warns that intermittent bans on domestic work and a requirement to seek family permission prior to migrating, makes women particularly vulnerable as they are forced to migrate through irregular channels or become ‘undocumented’.

The report’s authors interviewed migrant domestics who had worked 21 hours per day, were not allowed to leave the house, and were sexually abused by their employers. A living nightmare in which workers become trapped with no way out – so much for the promised land. Read more, here.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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