Assistant Undersecretary: Constant Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

Assistant Undersecretary for coordination and Follow-up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, said that the problem of slavery is a global problem requiring collective efforts to stop smuggling workers from poor countries, the trafficking of women for sexual purposes, smuggling children and exploiting illegitimate workers. His statement came on 13 May 2009, in a speech by him during a debate in the UN General Assembly regarding slavery. With regards to Bahrain, he said that the problem revolves around the ‘exploitation of foreign workers’ and that different methods have been adopted by the Government to tackle the problem such as reducing the demand for foreign workers, investigating any violations, punishing violators of the law, helping victims and cooperating with foreign countries who provide workers in order to protect them from the danger of exploitation. He added that the Government had passed legislation in January 2008 in which it criminalized slavery and established a National Committee from civil and non-civil organizations for the same purpose. The Committee aims to provide victims with a safe place, to spread awareness among the public of the danger, to organize conferences, conduct workshops and training and to set up programs for judges and state officials for this purpose. He also pointed to the Government’s abolition of the sponsor system as an advanced step in this area and to the importance of cooperation with foreign embassies, civil society organizations and businessmen in order to eradicate the slavery phenomena.