Saudi Arabia to name and shame traffickers

February 19, 2013

Saudi authorities could name and shame people involved in smuggling, transporting, sheltering or employing absconded, illegal or undocumented foreign women.

The move would be part of a campaign by the government to tackle the phenomenon and its perceived security threats and to arrest traffickers, sources told local daily Al Riyadh.

Reports have warned about an increase in the attempts to smuggle women from different nationalities illegally into the kingdom or from one region to another.

Many of the women whose health conditions were not documented or were unlawfully employed as domestic helpers or in other sectors, posed serious health threats to those who come in contact with them, sources told the newspaper.

“Some of the women who are allowed to work in homes scout the houses for other members of a gang and help them to break into them,” the sources said. “When the helper absconds, the family have no information about where she came from and where she can go.”

Campaigns should be launched to promote awareness about all the personal, social and national threats associated with the movement or hiring of illegal workers, the sources said.

According to security reports in Saudi Arabia, most of the illegal women caught in raids were from Yemen and African countries.

Several of the women were also detained for selling odd items or for soliciting, they said.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice last year said that its members arrested a Saudi national and several Africans for possessing drugs, stolen identity cards and mobile phones and forged documents.

A trafficker recently told a Saudi daily about the lucrative business of trafficking, saying that whenever he needed money, he agreed to smuggle illegal foreigners and drive them from one area to the other.

He said that he received 500 Saudi riyals (Dh489.49) per head and that his strategy included avoiding patrolled roads or using a second car ahead of his vehicle to sweep the area for possible police check points.

Saudi Arabia is home to around nine million foreigners.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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