UN:Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons
UNITED NATIONS Economic and Social Distr. Council GENERAL E/CN.4/2006/62/Add.1 27 March 2006 ENGLISH/FRENCH/ SPANISH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Sixty-second session Item 12 of the provisional agenda INTEGRATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND A GENDER PERSPECTIVE Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Sigma Huda Addendum Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received
Bahrain Communications sent by the Special Rapporteur 7 . By letter dated 19 September 2005, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, sent an allegation letter concerning the alleged mistreatment of migrant women working as domestic workers in Bahrain. 8 . According to the information received migrant domestic workers, who typically live with their employers, are explicitly excluded from the protection of the 1976 Labour Law for the Private Sector. Many have to work 15 to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, and their employers often restrict their freedom of movement. Since their legal status in Bahrain depends on the continued visa sponsorship of their employers, migrant domestic worker who flee exploitative situations risk arrest, prolonged administrative detention and deportation. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that many employers take away their migrant domestic workers’ passports, a practice that is reportedly officially tolerated. In addition, public authorities often privilege employers in disputes involving migrant workers. 9 . In extreme cases, domestic migrant workers may also be subjected to physical or sexual abuse. In this connection, the Special Rapporteurs brought to the attention of the Government allegations relating to the situation of A.B.J., an Indonesian girl. A.B.J., then aged 16, was recruited through a Jakarta-based private employment agency by a Bahraini married couple, who agreed to sponsor her visa and employ her as a domestic worker. While she was actually born in 1989, the head of her Indonesian home village helped arrange for her a passport that falsely stated her date of birth as 1 August 1978. After A.B.J. arrived in Bahrain on 24 June 2004, her new employers took her passport away. 10 . On the evening of 26 June 2004, the employer touched A.B.J.’s intimate body parts against her will. His wife was present when the incident occurred but did not protest. On the evening of the next day, after the wife had left the house, the employer forced A.B.J. to watch a pornographic film, tore off her clothes and touched her intimately once again even though she screamed in protest. The next morning, A.B.J. informed the wife about the incident but the wife did not react. 11 . Approximately one month later, the wife told A.B.J. that she could earn additional money if she agreed to have sexual relations with men. On the evening of the same day, she was forced to leave the house with an unknown man. He took her to the premises of a factory where she was raped first by him and later by another man. The man told A.B.J. that he had paid the wife to
E/CN.4/2006/62/Add.1 Page 5 have sexual relations with A.B.J. Even though she was bleeding and suffered strong pain after the rapes, A.B.J. was not allowed to seek medical assistance. Instead, the wife gave her pain killers. 12 . In the weeks thereafter, A.B.J. was forced to have sexual relations with a number of men, including the husband/employer. To diminish her resistance, A.B.J. was given stimulant drugs, presumably Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as Ecstasy). During the entire period she was confined to the house and not able to communicate by mail or telephone. Only on the occasion of a relative’s visit she managed to contact her employment agency in Jakarta with the relative’s mobile phone. The employment agency then organized her rescue. 13 . A criminal investigation was opened and the husband was detained for a brief period of time but then released. A forensic medical examination proved that A.B.J. had had repeated sexual intercourse, but no blood test was taken to determine the nature of the drugs that A.B.J. had been given. The husband/employer was indicted for rape and the wife for facilitating prostitution. A court hearing is scheduled to take place in September 2005. A.B.J.’s former employers still retain possession of her passport and have neither paid her the wages agreed upon nor compensated her for the sexual violence suffered. 14 . The Rapporteurs appealed to the Government to take all necessary measures to uphold the human rights of migrant domestic workers and protect them from being trafficked into sexual or economic exploitation. In this regard they recalled that the Trafficking Protocol, to which Bahrain has acceded, requires State Parties to establish comprehensive policies, programmes and other measures to prevent and combat trafficking in persons (Article 9).