In recent news, the Qatari government has made the announcement that it has abolished Kafala, the exploitative labour system used throughout the Middle East. It effectively ties employees to their employers without the opportunity to change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission. Those who do not seek permission can face deportation or arrest. Reports suggest that construction workers have died because of appalling working conditions in the construction of the World Cup stadiums, while domestic workers working in private homes are particularly vulnerable to horrendous physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
In January 2015, the Chairman of the Walk Free Foundation, Andrew Forrest and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, William Lacy Swing, signed an Memorandum of Understanding committing the two organisations to working together against modern slavery.
As today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, it is timely that UNODC and Walk Free Foundation announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable the organizations to work together to estimate the number of victims of human trafficking in an initial four countries.