Change stressed in Bahrain’s recruitment system



Addressing a forum on human trafficking Dr Sabika Al Najjar, president of the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), said there was an urgent need for overhauling the recruitment system and implementing strict measures to combat rogue recruiters to clarify who should be keeping the passports of the expatriate workers.



She said although the situation in this regard is slightly better, there is not much of a difference when compared with the other Gulf countries.


She said the expatriate workers get trapped in a ‘vicious circle’ and get exploited as a result.


The forum was jointly organised by BHRS, the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), and the Education Development Centre (EDC).


Attending the forum are representatives from various organisations and visiting delegates like Dr Mohammed Mattar, executive director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Protection Programme.


In his address, Dr Mattar said the Gulf states and the Arab world should have a long-term policy, while underlining that there a lot more is required in relation to the dealing with the issues concerning domestic servants.


The visiting expert also noted that the lack of a minimum wage for either local or expatriate workers in Bahrain and many other countries in the region makes it difficult to set such standards.


He said that setting a high minimum wage cannot be achieved overnight and suggested that wage system should initially set low to be increased gradually.


Domestic servants are not protected by labour law and hence work very long hours without proper compensation and do not enjoy as much as of rights as some other expatriate workers do, it was highlighted.


According to Marietta Dias, action committee head of the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), the exploitation of workers is being practised by rogue recruiters from both the labour importing and exporting countries.


She called on the governments of the concerned countries take measures so that the exploitation is stopped.


She pointed out that rogue recruiters paint a rosy picture of better living standards, promise high salary, but upon arrival no promises are met and at times they face the reality that even the job is non-existent.

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