African Update on Modern-Day Slavery in Saudi Arabia

Again, this is another piece I’m putting up in response to the Saudi’s foreign minister, al-Jubair, urging the rest of the world to respect Saudi Arabia’s death penalty, ‘because it’s the law’.

This isn’t about the Saudi death penalty, but another blemish on theirs and the world’s culture and history: slavery.

It’s a piece from the African news show, Africa Update, on present day slavery in Saudi Arabia. The presenter states that although slavery was officially banned in 1962, 300,000 slaves remained after its official abolition. And slavery continues today in the form of the Kafala system, or sponsorship, under which Saudi Arabia imports domestic servants and labourers. These are ruthlessly exploited. They typically work between 15-20 hours a day, with no rest days. If they run away, adverts are placed for their apprehension and return, as in the days of real, open slavery. If they complain or resist, they may suffer brutal maltreatment. Some of these domestic workers have even been killed. The Indonesians banned their people from working in Saudi Arabia after one or two Indonesian maids were killed by their masters. And just as shocking, a Saudi man placed an advert in one of the papers for a male slave he was selling, who had been castrated.

The presenter therefore urges her fellow Africans not to go to Saudi Arabia, unless they have a secure, well-paid job, where they will not be subject to such maltreatment, or have been given professorships at a Saudi university. She wonders how long the Saudis will continue to abuse Africans like this, and states that someone should complain to them.

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