Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Slave Trade Fabrications | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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According to the US State Department, a small number of countries permit the buying and selling of individuals. Included in the list are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Bearing in mind that human trafficking is banned worldwide and that the trading of slaves in is a despicable inhumane practice, this latest accusation is quite a dangerous one.

We must stop and ask ourselves whether human trafficking is still occurring in our world, and in the Persian Gulf region, more specifically.

Without clear evidence, I loathe to believe that the slave trade still exists to this day. The foolish rationale of the trader, to exploit slaves for the least expense, without any concern for their wellbeing, has now disappeared. Whatever benefits owners received in trading slaves can now be reached through cheap labor from across the developing world. This leads me to believe that the latest accusations of a slave trade in the Arab World are fabrications, bar a few very rare exceptions. Why would anyone choose to own a slave when they can rent labor for as little as 200 dollars US per month through a legally signed contract?

The trade in slaves surely can”t provide lower prices! Cheap labor is flooding the world, with some poor Arab countries even relying on foreigners to work for pittance, at the expense of their native population. In the past years, I”ve never heard of buying and selling individuals. I have, of course, heard instances of abuse, payment delays and even non-payment, with such disputes recorded in court, governmental offices and embassies.

In its latest report, the US State Department included a section on children used in camel races across the Gulf. These children are brought in to the region illegally and are given jobs that are banned worldwide because they are underage. I admit that is accusation is true, in some case, where race representatives have, as of late, resorted to employing foreign minors. I urge government official across the region to ban children from taking part in these races, if their participation violates international agreements. Children should, instead, should be in schools in their country of origin, not on the back of a camel.

This remains, however, an exception and it is unfair to generalize and accuse entire countries. The trade in prostitutes, for example, is global and run by criminal gangs; one can”t hold the countries where it exists despite being illegal responsible. These practices are all outlawed the world over. It is unfair to hold a society or a country to account for individual actions, unless they are ignored by the authorities or go unpunished. These two conditions are, obviously, not applicable in the countries mentioned in the US report.