The Middle East is now temporary home to hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who mainly come from Asian nations like India, Pakistan,Sri Lanka and elsewhere. The Human Rights Watch has issued a report on the conditions faced by Sri Lankan immigrants in the Middle East that is entitled: “Exported and Exposed: Abuses Against Sri Lankan Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.” The immigrants are mainly women and they encounter a variety of abusive behaviors such as not getting paid or being under paid, physical and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, long hours of work, confiscation of passports so they cannot readily return home, and restrictions that make it difficult for them to learn what are the norms in their new country of residence. It is estimated many of the Sri Lankan women work 18 hour days, seven days a week and receive about $100 a month for their labor.
The condition of the migrant workers is among the most ignored stories in any discussion of Middle Easter issues. Migrants constitute a rather large percent of several small nations like Kuwait or Omar. They lack leverage on the system to bring about changes and most Middle Eastern nations tend to believe that migrant workers are better off, with all the abuse, than being elsewhere.