There are an estimated 61,000 people living in modern slavery in Saudi Arabia (GSI 2018). It is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked from South and South East Asia and Africa. People voluntarily migrate to the country to work in a variety of sectors including construction and domestic service; many of these workers are vulnerable to forced labour. Traffickers and brokers often illegally recruit migrants to work in Saudi Arabia and subsequently forced them into domestic servitude or debt bondage. Female domestic workers are particularly at risk of trafficking due to their isolation inside private residences. Non-payment or late payment of wages remains a complaint from foreign workers, while employer's withholding of worker's passports remains a significant problem. Trafficking perpetrators include businesses of all sizes, private families, recruitment companies in both Saudi Arabia and labor-sending countries, and organized criminal elements. Dammayanthi K travelled from Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia for work in domestic service. Her employer confiscated her passport, locked her in the house and verbally abused her.
There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. In 2005 Judith was living in the Philippines when her sister told her about a job in New York working for a diplomat family. While her sister warned her that the advertised income was just for show, it was still more than Judith could make in the Philippines and she decided to go. Upon arrival, her passport was confiscated, she was forced to work 14 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week with no rest. Judith was deprived of food and subjected to verbal abuse. Judith finally escaped on July 26th 2007.
There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off. NE, a 29-year-old woman from Ponorogo (2008-2010), was promised a salary of HK$4,000 (US$515) by her broker, but found out at the training centre in Jakarta that her actual salary would be much lower.
There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Nena Ruiz was in the Philippines struggling for money after her business partner stole all of her savings when her cousin told her about a job in the United States. She was told that she would be assisting her employer's elderly mother, however upon arrival in San Francisco, she was informed that she would be working as a domestic helper in Los Angeles. Nena was flown to L.A. and her passport was confiscated by her new employer. She was forced to work long hours with no rest and was subjected to physical abuse. Nena was finally able to escape her situation when her neighbours called the police.
There are an estimated 6000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Kuwait (GSI 2018). Men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly throughout Africa to work in Kuwait, predominantly in the domestic service, construction, hospitality, and sanitation sectors. The vast majority of migrant workers arrive voluntarily; however, upon arrival some sponsors subject migrants to forced labour, including through non-payment of wages, protracted working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. Many of the migrant workers arriving in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to labour recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labour broker fees in Kuwait which, according to Kuwaiti law, should be paid by the employer—a practice making workers highly vulnerable to forced labour, including debt bondage. To a lesser extent, migrant women are also subjected to forced prostitution. Prudence was offered a teaching job in Kuwait, making twice as much as she was making in Uganda. However, upon arrival her passport was confiscated and she was told to start cleaning. Prudence was subjected to verbal abuse daily, with other women working there suffering physical abuse. Though she wanted to leave, her employers told her she had to finish her contract. A contract she had not signed. Prudence’s luck changed one day when the family she worked with invited some friends to dinner who brought their own maid, also a Ugandan woman. Prudence told this woman about her abuse and was encouraged to get out. One morning while the family was sleeping, Prudence quietly left the house.