‘Nepalese lured to Gulf subject to forced labour’

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 23:22

Kathmandu: Nepalese workers lured abroad in
search of better livelihood in various Gulf states have been
subject to forced labour and sexual exploitation, human rights
watchdog Amnesty International said in a key report.

The report entitled, ?False Promises: Exploitation and
forced labour of Nepalese migrant workers", prepared by
Amnesty highlights the fate of prospective migrants who take
large loans to pay recruitment fees to secure a job overseas,
unaware that recruitment agencies are deceiving them about the
work, pay and conditions they are signing up to.

It states that every year over 300,000 Nepalese,
including women move to various countries, mostly in the Gulf
region and Malaysia for employment.

However, recruitment agencies subject them to forced
labour on the pretext of false job promises.

The workers take out large loans to pay recruiters to
secure a job overseas "unaware that they are deceiving them
about the work, pay and conditions they are signing up to."

AI has asked the Nepal government to improve protection
of its migrant workers.

During an interview conducted by AI with around 150
migrant workers, it was found that 90 per cent had been
deceived by recruitment agencies regarding their employment
contract.

"Some had to work without rest days, in dangerous
conditions, or received salaries of less than half of what was
promised," the report said.

"Nepalese people seek a better life abroad but fail
before they even leave home, as recruitment agents - who earn
huge profits - deceive them regarding their terms of contract,
which is a key element in trafficking, said Norma Kang Muico,
Amnesty International’s Researcher for Asia-Pacific Migrants’
Rights.

“By the time they find out the true nature of their work,
many are already trapped, saddled with large loans from
private lenders with annual interest rates of up to 60 per
cent."

Recruitment agencies charge an average 100,000 Nepalese
rupees or USD 1,400 for their services, three times the
average annual income of Nepalese, the report states.

Nepalese women face restrictions to working abroad which
increase their vulnerability, the report said.

AI interviewed migrant domestics who had worked 21 hours
per day, were not allowed to leave the house and were sexually
abused by their employers, according to the report.

"The Government must end discriminatory practices that
force women migrants underground and leave them at greater
risk of exploitation, without the protections available to
regular migrants,” said Norma Kang Muico.

Nepal’s foreign exchange earnings largely dependent on
remittance received from migrant workers, as nearly 20 per
cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010-11
came from remittances from migrants, according to the report.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 23:22

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