2013 | Nicholas Cooper


“In the past two decades, the city of Dubai has experienced exponential growth, made possible by vigorous foreign investment and its robust tourism industry. However, beneath the glossy visage of the city lies a foundation of pervasive human rights violations; primarily slavery. Slavery presents itself primarily in the construction industry, enabled by the exploitation of immigrant construction workers. Additionally, many of the wealthy elite manipulate immigration processes in order to keep immigrant women as their personal domestic servants, subjecting them to a life of indentured servitude and slavery. The sex trade is also prevalent in Dubai, as many women are trafficked from all over the world to the city to serve as prostitutes for businessmen clientele. Additionally, many women arrive willingly, signing contracts to become domestic workers or work in Dubai businesses, only to have employers confiscate their passports and force them to work as prostitutes. This is partially enabled by the abuse of the United Arab Emirate’s residence visa system. The forms of slavery detailed here are enabled not only by international criminal organizations and corrupt businesses, but by the corruption and/or ineffectual malaise of the local and state governments in the region, as well as foreign embassies. Widespread reforms should be instated to help those in slavery get out and to punish those responsible.”