What is kafala, the controversial sponsorship employment system that “enslaves” workers

He thought he had found the job of his life, but ended up captive and forced to work for free. Athenkosi Dyonta, a 30-year-old barista, worked at a café in George Town, a popular vacation spot in his native South Africa.

“The kafala or sponsorship system ties migrant workers to their employers,” May Romanos, an Amnesty International (AI) researcher on migrant rights in the Gulf region told BBC Mundo.

Romanos is one of the authors of a 2019 AI report on the kafalah system in Lebanon.

The arabic word kafala means guarantee.

In this system “workers cannot enter the country or obtain a visa unless they have that sponsorship.”

“AND the employer can cancel the residence permit at any time and leaving the worker as an illegal at risk of being deported ”

English | October 12, 2021



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