SL workers vulnerable to forced labour in NZ, Egypt

Published : 12:02 am  July 14, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Lahiru Pothmulla   

Sri Lankan workers are vulnerable to forced labour in New Zealand and Egypt and they are subjected to forced labour in Pakistan, the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the US Department of State said.   

“Foreign men and women from Sri Lanka, China, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pacific islands and Latin America are vulnerable to forced labour in New Zealand’s agricultural, dairy, construction, viticulture, food service, and hospitality sectors and as domestic workers. Unregulated and unlicensed immigration brokers operating in New Zealand and source countries, particularly in India and the Philippines assist victims of labour exploitation in New Zealand to obtain visas,” it said.   

Meanwhile, it said Sri Lankan domestic workers in Egypt who were not covered under Egyptian labour laws are highly vulnerable to forced labour experiencing excessive working hours, denial of food and medical care and physical and psychological abuse.   

The report said Pakistan is also a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour, particularly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.   

In past years, Sri Lankan citizens transiting Burkina Faso allegedly en route to another country had been subjected to forced labour. Sri Lankan men had been subjected to forced labour in Sierra Leone in the previous years.   Meanwhile, the report said some workers from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India reportedly experience recruitment fraud before arriving in Maldives.   

It said men and women from Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and other countries voluntarily migrate to Qatar as unskilled laborers and domestic workers.   
“They often pay illegal and exorbitant fees to unscrupulous recruiters in the labour-sending countries, thereby increasing their vulnerability to debt bondage,” the report said.   

Commenting on the measures taken by certain countries to help their nationals subjected to exploitative working condition in Kuwait, the US report said Embassies of Sri Lanka, the Philippines and India maintained their own domestic worker shelters and worked closely with the Kuwait government to seek compensation and legal redress for their nationals.