Saudis address human trafficking concerns

Nov. 16, 2007 at 4:08 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Saudi Human Rights Commission voiced concern over human trafficking gangs exploiting immigrants and foreigners during the pilgrimage season.

Commission spokesmen Dr. Zoheir al-Harethi said people making their pilgrimage to Mecca plan to find employment but instead find themselves exploited by local gangs.

Harethi said immigrants "fall prey to gangs that use them for begging and prostitution" and noted many of the exploited are children, al-Arabiya said Friday.

Harethi also addressed criticisms targeting Saudi Arabia in the 2007 U.S. State Department Trafficking and Persons Report.

"I won't deny the report mentions some real problems that should be dealt with and which we will take into consideration, but it contains lots of exaggerations and doesn't state any evidence. There's also too much emphasis on individual cases," Harethi said.

He also said the minister of labor enacted new laws regulating domestic labor and detailed an educational campaign on the issue released by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

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Topics: Al Arabiya
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