This report focuses on the recruitment process that takes low-paid migrant workers from Nepal to work in the Gulf states, where many work in the region’s booming and highly competitive construction sector. This corridor has been chosen as a case study to illustrate the challenges and responses to responsible recruitment that are relevant to businesses regardless of their location or context. Abuses of workers in the Gulf construction sector have been documented extensively, and the recruitment process is consistently identified as a key factor in abuse and exploitation. Recruitment debt – equivalent to several months or years of potential wages – can lead to conditions of forced labour. However, none of the Gulf states nor any of the states that supply them with labour have demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting low-paid migrant workers from rights abuses and the recruitment process is an area where this collective inertia is most evident.
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