Treatment of migrant workers in the Middle East: Modern-day slavery?

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Manya Sinha


migration, migrant workers, slavery, exploitation, Middle East studies


This article aims to establish that the treatment of migrant workers in the Middle East is a form of modern-day slavery. This area of research has not been written about extensively in academia, thus it is important to address this gap by writing about these lived experiences. Research in this area predominantly focuses on ill-treatment without acknowledging that maltreatment fulfills the criteria of slavery. This essay used a top to bottom societal analysis of academic, social media, and entertainment sources in order to ascertain its findings. This article found empirical and conceptual validity to the claim that treatment of migrant workers in the Middle East is akin to modern-day slavery. This was established through determining that abuse, exploitative working conditions, and denial of freedom are the prevalent forms of maltreatment, which correlate with the criteria that is used to establish slavery. This essay also found that legal and economic vulnerability, as well as racial bias, allow slavery-like practices to continue with impunity in the Middle East. These findings are valuable for the field of social science as they widen the scope of academic discourse on this issue, and shed light on marginalised groups like migrant workers that do not often have their experiences studied.

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