This week, the Government of the Maldives passed a bill on anti-human trafficking, which makes trafficking in persons a criminal offence with perpetrators liable to 10 to 15 years imprisonment. The bill, which entered the Maldivian parliament – the People’s Majlis – in April 2013, also criminalizes offenses such as forced labour and fraudulent recruitment as acts of human trafficking.
The Maldives is a destination country for human trafficking, including sex trafficking and especially forced labour. Government estimates suggest nearly a third of the Maldives’ population of 300,000 are migrant workers, of which up to 50,000 have irregular status. These are mainly migrants from Bangladesh and India who are left vulnerable to fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, non-payment of wages and debt bondage.
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