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Gulf Guide Workers crane
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Illustration: Marcelle Luow for GIJN


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Introduction: GIJN Guide to Reporting on Migration in the Gulf Arab Countries

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More than 23 million migrant workers live in the six Middle Eastern countries that make up the political and economic alliance known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Unfortunately, abuse of these workers is widespread, mostly due to the legal framework of the kafala sponsorship system — the legal framework defining the relationship between migrant workers and their employers — which can result in contract violations and dangerous working conditions, benefit unscrupulous traffickers, and cause discord among brokers and employers. Media outlets, both local and international, have generally struggled to closely cover human trafficking and forced labor in the region, however, because of the restrictions on press freedom, security concerns, and threats of detention or deportation. For these reasons, GIJN, in collaboration with, has updated and expanded this multilingual guide to educate journalists on best practices, tools, and country-specific resources, all against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Illustrations are by Marcelle Louw. Project manager was Majdoleen Hasan. Editing by Reed Richardson.

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