MANAMA, Bahrain, June 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
The government of Bahrain today welcomed the U.S. State Department's 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which upgrades Bahrain to Tier 1 status in recognition of the Kingdom's longstanding commitment to combatting human trafficking and reinforcing expatriate worker protections.
Bahrain is the first country in the region to achieve Tier 1 status and is now recognised alongside the UK, the U.S. and Germany as being fully compliant with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Bahrain's efforts to combat trafficking and protect expatriate workers are led by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), established in 2008 by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister. The CEO of the LMRA, Ausamah al Absi becomes the first GCC representative to be recognised as a 'Trafficking in Persons Report Hero.'
Notable achievements highlighted in the TIP report include Bahrain's ground-breaking labour market reforms, the Flexible Work Permit and standardised tripartite labour contract system, both of which are designed to support private sector growth and render expatriate workers less susceptible to labour exploitation.
The first of its kind in the region, the Flexible Work Permit enables undocumented workers to self-sponsor in the Kingdom over a two-year period and has already won praise from the International Organisation for Migration and UN Human Rights Council as a model example of responsible and effective labour market reform.
The TIP report also recognises Bahrain's significant progress in combatting human trafficking and forced labour. Recent measures introduced include a new national referral mechanism that has successfully identified and provided protections to more than 30 trafficking victims, and a country-wide anti-trafficking campaign designed to raise awareness and educate migrant workers of their rights under Bahraini law.
Commenting on the report, the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Labour Market Regulatory Authority, Ausamah al Absi, said:
"2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the LMRA and these initiatives represent the crowning achievements in a decade of labour market reforms delivered under the leadership of HRH the Crown Prince.
"As the region's only dedicated labour market regulator, we understand that we need to build on this strong foundation which is why we have a clear strategy in place to implement far-reaching reforms that support economic prosperity and social protection at every level of society."