Through the Cracks: The Exploitation of Pakistani Migrant Workers in the Gulf Recruitment Regime

Date.22 Apr, 2019

Migrant workers are an important part of Pakistan’s economy and the labour market. Yet the regulation of labour migration in Pakistan remains weak, leaving thousands of mostly male low-wage workers vulnerable to human trafficking, forced labour, ill-treatment in detention overseas and even death. There are close to 11,000 Pakistanis imprisoned in foreign jails, of which over 7,000 are in the Middle East. The Pakistan-Saudi migration corridor, in particular, is considered one of the costliest in the world in terms of recruitment costs for economically disadvantaged workers. Yet individuals and groups who seek to coerce and deceive individuals seeking employment overseas to smuggle prohibited drugs to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, operate with significant impunity. 

This report documents the cases of migrant workers who in seeking work and better life prospects abroad ended up being deceived and coerced into smuggling prohibited drugs to the Gulf countries and, ultimately, sentenced to death and executed.


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