Who are they?


"They sleep six or more to a tiny, ramshackle room; they are often supplied only with some blankets to sleep on the raw concrete floor, a single window that provides the only access for a cooling breeze, if it ever comes, and a toilet and a bathroom to share with countless others."*

They often undergo sexual humiliation and abuse, they have been stripped of their legal rights, and are under the tender mercies of those who would mistreat and abuse them for their own needs. Their rights to practice their religion are denied them and their religious material can be confiscated and destroyed.
Who are they?
You probably guessed wrong. They are not Guantanomo inmates who in fact are treated to nice meals, get a full range of medical care, and are well—represented by lawyers and civil rights groups around the world. No...these are actually "guest workers" who labor in Saudi Arabia. They are often from the Third World, are lured to Saudi Arabia with promises of well—paying jobs and mandatory vacations abroad to see their families. Instead, they often have their passports taken from them the day they arrive, are sexually abused by Saudi men who look upon them as inferior playthings, and are enslaved under horrible conditions: not being paid, and held in virtual imprisonment and slavery. They have doubtful prospects of ever going home again to see their families or loved ones.
While American liberals protest against the depredations purportedly let loose on the world by American multinational, the role of the Saudis in dispensing terror abroad and within the confines of their "kingdom" is ignored by them

These brutal circumstances are outlined in the new book, "Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis" by John R. Bradley. Bradley lived in the kingdom (or personal fief of the Al—Saud family, or at least one branch of it) and is not a pro—American ideologue by any stretch of the imagination.

So these migrant workers are among the most abused people in the world. So where are the human rights groups agitating for them. The silence is deafening.

One exception: The Human Rights Watch in 2004 cataloged abuses suffered by a predominantly Asian labor force. "Migrant workers in the purportedly modern society that the kingdom has become continue to suffer extreme forms of labour exploitation that sometimes rise to slavery—like conditions." It described the case of 300 women from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines who cleaned hospitals in Jeddah. They worked 12—hour shifts, 6 days a week, and at night were locked up in a building where 14 shared one small room. Some women workers were traumatized from rape and sexual abuse at the hands of Saudi male employers. Beheadings for infractions also occurred.

*(see page 121 of the book)

Ed Lasky   8 13 04