Bahrain, together with other Gulf Countries, has a history of intra-regional overseas contract workers. These dynamics between the labour-sending and the GCC labour-receiving states continue to yield important economic benefits for involved parts including, of course, overseas contract workers. According to Bahraini government estimates, overseas workers comprise 63 per cent of the country’s work force. The promise of economic and social prosperity and employment in Bahrain is often used as a lure by traffickers to bring in workers from India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These workers find themselves in situations of abuse and exploitation. The government of Bahrain is aware of the complexity of the problem and it is deploying intense efforts to tackle it at different levels, including the launching of a National Plan of Action since 2002 to counter trafficking and prevent abuse of overseas workers, as well as the recent opening of a “Safe House” or shelter for abused overseas workers and victims of trafficking.
IOM has been actively engaged with the Government of Bahrain for 15 years, working to enhance Bahrain’s migration governance, to further develop instruments to support the protection of overseas contract workers, as well as to fight and prevent trafficking. This partnership has been consolidated with the official establishment of the IOM Bahrain Country Office in March 2018. IOM Bahrain is working closely with Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) on the development of a National TiP Strategy and Action Plan, scheduled to be complete September 2019. Additionally, IOM provides capacity building and thematic support to the LMRA’s Expatriates Protection Centre, its National Referral Mechanism staff, as well as the LMRA labour inspectors on the identification and protection of vulnerable migrants.
1st Floor, LMRA Expatriate Protection and Assistance Centre
Building 1553, Road 4153, Block 441
Northern Sehla, Kingdom of Bahrain