Kuwait City: The Public Authority for Manpower transferred about 400 cases to the Public Prosecution for human trafficking, Al Rai media reported. The Deputy Director of the Public Authority for Manpower, Dr. Mubarak Al Azmi, told Al Rai, they received approximately 3,000 complaints from employees, all of whom are expats, as their companies have not paid them their salaries during the COVID-19 crisis.
Out of 3,000 complaints, around 2,300 expats received assistance, with the help of the Ministry of Interior and the Civil Aviation, who helped them return to their countries.
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Human trafficking complaints
In terms of the human trafficking, Al Azmi said that whenever they receive a complaint, they coordinate with the Ministry of Interior so that they can open a case against the company. Once they confirm that the company is involved in human trafficking they transfer the files to the public prosecutor’s office, who then investigates the matter.
He added that around 3,000 cases have been closed, either that they have been solved or they have been transferred to the public prosecutor for investigation. The term human trafficking in Kuwait is used to describe companies that are in the trade of selling work permits, a practice that is deemed illegal under Kuwaiti law. Companies have a quota of employees they can hire, in some cases instead of hiring the total amount they sell permits to foreign workers, on average for 1,500 Kuwaiti dinars. Those who buy a permit are oftentimes left to find a job on their own, usually day jobs, whenever and wherever they can.
Many expats have not been paid since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, as they have been affected by the No-Work-No-Pay policy that most companies operate by, although the policy is deemed illegal under Kuwaiti law.
Al Azmi explained that, “We began calling those employers that have not paid their employees, with the help of the Ministry of Interior, to try to find a solution to process the salaries of the unpaid employees. Those companies have not been cooperating so we started to move on them.”
He revealed that the Public Authority received 1,980 processed salary receipts from employers, as they were unable to communicate with their employees to provide them with their salaries. Al Azmi went on to say that those salaries are available for pick-up at the Public Authority for Manpower’s headquarters.
As for those that have not received their salaries and no receipts were processed, their cases have been transferred to the public prosecutor’s office. Al Azmi stressed the most important thing is to ensure workers’ rights and help facilitate any easy process for those who want to return to their home countries.
Last month, around 150-200 restaurant workers, working for a well known Lebanese chain, held a protest claiming they have not been paid for the past 3 months, according to A