A businessman in the Kingdom, charged with more than forty cases of human trafficking crimes, has been reportedly detained by the authorities. The case, noted as one of the most serious violations of labour laws by intensity, was reported by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) following a tip-off.
The charges against the accused include attempts to enslave workers, making them adhere to fake and illegal work contracts, depriving them of rights stipulated by the law and detention of their passports.
“The investigations revealed new levels of abusive practices by employers against workers,” said a statement issued by LMRA CEO Ausamah Al Absi.
“This is of high priority as it is a matter of Bahrain’s reputation and its commitment to the international conventions,” the statement added.
“The laws are set to equalise the sides of the labour equation; they grant specific rights to the workers. But unfortunately some employers are trying to circumvent the labour laws with acts that are punishable by both labour laws as well as other laws, such as trafficking laws,” said Mr. Al Absi.
The employees being Indians, Indian Embassy’s support and cooperation proved invaluable in the investigation, said the CEO, lauding the special support of Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar.
“I urge anyone who feels exploited in any manner, to contact the LMRA or their embassy, and we will do everything possible to rectify their situation,” he added. Responding to queries, LMRA’s Public Relations Department spokesperson said that the authority had limitations in revealing personal details of the employer, including his nationality.
On reports of the unprecedented nature of the particular case being investigated by Mr. Al Absi himself, the spokesperson said, “Every case involving suspicion of trafficking is of extreme importance. And the CEO is involved in each of them since he personally heads the Anti-Trafficking Task Force at the LMRA. This particular instance involved the highest number of potential victims and hence his involvement is natural.
In addition to the CEO, there was one Vice president and three managers involved, apart from many inside and outside the LMRA.” He reiterated that the LMRA had prosecuting powers, stating that to set the records straight, Labour Law Cases can be prosecuted, apart from restricting to mere fines. “The nationality of the employer is irrelevant as everyone is equal before the law,” said the spokesperson. The case has been referred to the Public Prosecution for further investigations, it was stated.