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NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 25, 2023) — Today, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) published a new report, “Saudi Arabia’s Human Trafficking Mechanisms,” as part of its ongoing series exploring the links between human trafficking and authoritarianism.

As indicated in past reports — “Authoritarianism and Trafficking in Persons: Annual Policy Brief” and “Authoritarianism and Trafficking in Persons: Policy Memo” — HRF has determined a clear connection between human trafficking and authoritarianism. This link can be attributed to the lack of government transparency, active civil society, and free press in countries under authoritarian rule.

According to the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons report, Saudi Arabia is ranked as a Tier 2 country, one which “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” HRF’s new report investigates the role of the country’s strict labor law, kafala system, and male guardianship system in facilitating human trafficking. These systems create a cycle of oppression that exploits foreign workers and women, reinforcing the regime’s hold on power.

The report exposes the Saudi regime’s lack of protection for trafficking victims and inadequate punishments for perpetrators. It provides legal analysis, emphasizing the need for democratic reform to address human trafficking effectively. It also provides a conclusion on the report’s findings and policy recommendations to relevant stakeholders.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

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