By Hugh Fitzgerald:
As is well known, slavery was formally abolished in Saudi Arabia as late as 1962, and then only after terrific pressure had been applied to the Saudis by Western governments. And today, when we speak of slavery in the Muslim world, we think of Mauritania (with 600,000 slaves), as the report in the past hour discussed, Niger (600,000 slaves), Mali (200,000 slaves), and Libya (where slave markets have opened in nine sites during the last two years). Most of us assume that in Saudi Arabia, slavery is no longer tolerated.
But most of us are wrong.
Slavery may have been formally abolished, but the cruel and savage treatment of foreign domestic workers, their inability to free themselves from arduous work conditions because their employers keep their passports and other documents, amount to slavery in all but name.
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