Junaid Ansari, is a 50-year-old father from Uttar Pradesh, India. Like many, he was a carpet weaver in his village, trying to provide for his family. But the meager income was not enough for. Junaid, like millions of others, he was forced to look abroad for work.
In December 2021, a local agent promised him a job as a house helper in Dubai. He was promised a monthly wage of 1400 Dirhams ($380.00 USD), food, accommodations, and kind employers. But the reality was a far cry from this. Instead of a comfortable home, Junaid was sent to a perfume factory where he was forced to work for 12 hours each day under abusive conditions.
Sadly, Junaid’s story is far too common. West India is one of the largest migration corridors globally, with an estimated 9 million Indian migrants working in the Persian Gulf region. While some find fair employment, countless others fall victim to hazardous labor conditions, exploitation, and labor trafficking, with no safety net, social security, or labor rights.
Junaid bravely shared, "The only reason why I was able to pressure the agent to arrange my journey back to India was the knowledge I gained from the Free the Slaves events..."
Since December of 2020, Free the Slaves and MSEMVS have been at the forefront of protecting migrant workers in India through our “Safe Migration to the Gulf Countries” initiative. We’ve created a safe migration handbook, conducted trainings, and built an awareness network to ensure people migrating to Gulf countries stay safe and remain free.
Through our initiative, we have reached over 7,000 individuals. To ensure our work is sustainable we have trained village heads to take on the responsibility of spreading awareness, while the volunteer community groups maintain migration registration systems, track cases, and keep their communities informed.
The second phase of this project is active now, focusing on eliminating unlawful and excessive recruitment fees levied by recruiting brokers. We aim to educate migrant workers and recruiters alike about these abuses and how they can prevent them.
Source: Free The Slaves