Saudi Arabia warns against withholding workers’ passports, wages

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Cairo: Withholding a worker’s passport or wages are among practices of suspected human trafficking in Saudi Arabia, an official has said.

“These practices include withholding some identification documents such as the passport,” added Mohammed Al Masri, the secretary general of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, an affiliate of the Saudi Human Rights Commission..

“The passport is a personal document that no one has the right to illegally keep,” he told Saudi television Al Ekhbariya.

Other offences include withholding wages. “Work is a service for a fixed time duration in return for a wage,” said Al Masri.

According to him, obliging a worker to do an uncontracted job is categorised as human trafficking.

Saudi Arabia has introduced tough penalties against human trafficking, making it punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR1 million.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to reform its justice system as part of major changes in the country led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed.

The kingdom is home to a large community of migrant workers.

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