Riyadh: The Saudi government has denied a recent report released by the US Department of State ranking the kingdom as one of the largest human traffickers in the world.
The report said Saudi Arabia is a hub for workers coming from south Asia, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia and said, many of these workers are subject to bad working conditions including their employers holding their passports as well as physical and sexual abuse.
The report also said some workers are never paid their proper salaries.
The US Government report said household servants and drivers are among the most abused group of workers in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia also serves as a safe haven for children smuggled from Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Mali and Afghanistan who are forced to beg or work as street vendors, the report said.
It also alleged that the Saudi government does not protect victims properly and also accused the Saudi government of not being serious in enforcing law against human traffickers.
Commenting on the report in a lecture, Prince Turki Bin Mohammad Bin Saud, assistant undersecretary for political affairs at the foreign ministry in the kingdom, said Saudi Arabia has adopted a package of strict measures to combat child trafficking, pointing out that these measures include tighter control over boarders.
Apart from this, Prince Turki said the kingdom worked out laws protecting workers' rights and has also established centres to house workers who suffer from physical violence. He also doubted the child trafficking statistics in the report, noting that the kingdom has strict measures to combat the practice.
"This refutes the allegations that the kingdom is involved in human trafficking. This shows that the kingdom is blamed for a malpractice which it is not responsible for.
"The kingdom can't fight the phenomenon by itself. This problem can only be solved through collective efforts, including international cooperation and coordination in order to find the root cause and suggest solutions."
Noting that many children are smuggled into the kingdom from Yemen, Prince Turki said: "It should be understood that the kingdom has no authority over other nations' citizens. The only legal action it can take is to deport the infiltrators whether children or adults."
"It should be understood that the kingdom has no authority over other nations' citizens. The only legal action it can take is to deport the infiltrators whether children or adults."