From Ghana to Kuwait, One Man’s Story

Post by Mark

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Last week a reader called Abdulai Shani left the following comment under the post “The rescue of a domestic worker in Kuwait”:

I’m happy I came across this page. To be frank I’m fascinated as to how most Kuwaitis respond positively.

This is my own story and how I got to Kuwait. It all started somewhere in February this year, I met a guy back in my country in Africa, that is Ghana to be specific who told me he have some “connection” as normally termed in Ghana here in Kuwait and that a reputable company needs security guards to employ. I showed interest because he said I will be paid $1000 per month. I was happy and more than willing, so he demanded I pay $1500 for the processing my my visa and tickets which I paid. When I arrived at the airport of Kuwait on the 1st of April it was a different scenario. I was taken to an agency in Jahra and was told I’m going to take care of sheep on the desert. That was a blow I haven’t recovered till now, because I’m trapped in the sense that I quitted my job which is 100 times better than what I’m doing right here in Kuwait. And the wages i was promised never manifested instead I receive 70kd a month. I can’t even call my mom to tell her what I’m going through because I fear I might break her heart. I Fasted 30 Days during the fasting and can tell you it was hell. I Iive in a tent and the weather is extremely hot. I Have been on the desert for five months now. It’s I’m not the only one over here, we are trapped. We work 24hours a day and no day off and this will continue for 2years. We don’t go any where ,we just work even at night because we have to stay awake and look after the sheep. I’m a muslim and what I have been taught is that a man should not be ashamed of his work if it brings you good deeds and avoid you from stealing, so I’m not ashamed of being a shepherd although I’m well educated but the thing is my freedom have shackled. And the funny thing is our employers call themselves Muslims but will not allow us to go to the mosque on Fridays. All they do is they want us to always work,t hey don’t care even if we don’t pray. Hmmm on the day of Judgement Allah will fight for what they are denying us. Maybe someone reading this will say why we don’t run away or protect, but I tell you if we try to run away they will file a false case against us. And another problem is abuse, they beat my co workers although non have tried that on me yet. We just hope one day our two years contracts will be over. So that we can go back peacefully to our various countries.

After reading that I had no idea what to think. It didn’t make sense, the person who left that comment speaks English fairly well, was able to find my blog and was also able to leave a comment. How is this guy a shepherd? At first I thought it might be a prank but I emailed the guy anyway asking for his number so I could contact him and confirm his story. He sent me his number and I proceeded to chat with him via Whatsapp. Again I was very suspicious, how does a shepherd know what Whatsapp is? In the end he sent me his location and I decided I would drive out to meet him. Friday, after brunch with some friends, I drove an hour and a half alone into the middle of the desert so I could meet a stranger called Abdulai. I honestly had no idea what to expect which is why I had passed the location to my friends… just in case.

It was around 1PM when I pulled up outside Abdulai’s tent. I had called him up minutes earlier trying to figure out where his tent was exactly and the first thing he asked me was if I had driven through the valley of dead sheep. I surprisingly knew what he was talking about since just before I called him I had driven on a strip of road with dead sheep on both sides. A horrific scene mind you. As I was getting out of my car Abdulai had a big smile on his face, I walked up to him and we shook hands before we headed inside his tent. Abdulai lives on a farm, no, I can’t call it a farm since it’s really not but not sure what else to call it. It’s just a 4×4 tent (his home) with a small sheep pen outside it and that’s about it. It was very hot and although I was sitting inside his tent in the shade I was sweating profusely. He doesn’t have electricity so there is no air conditioning. Before we started I asked him if I could post his full name and his photo and he said yes. I told him I didn’t want to get him in trouble and if he wanted to stay anonymous or not be in a photo that would be ok. He told me he didn’t care since this was his reality.

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Abdulai Shani is a high school graduate but dropped out of university. He’s just 25 years old and before coming to Kuwait was teaching 7 year olds English and Mathematics at a school in Ghana. Like he stated in his comment on the blog, he was offered the opportunity to work in Kuwait as a security guard with a starting salary of $1,000 which was more than what he was making teaching in Ghana. So he took the chance, paid the agent $1,500 in fees and flew out of Ghana on March 31st of this year to come work in Kuwait. He didn’t have a copy of the contract before he left since his agent told him he would get one on arrival to Kuwait. When he arrived in Kuwait he was greeted by a man who he assumed was his boss. That man took his passport then drove him to a house in Jahra where he was locked up with three other people. He was told his sponsor would be coming to get him in a couple of days and was then asked if he was informed on what he would be doing. He replied saying he did, he would be a security guard. The person told him no, he was going to be a shepherd. Abdulai responded saying he was told he would be a security guard by the agent. The man then asked him if he knew how much he would be getting paid. Abdulai told him $1,000, the man told him he would be getting only KD70. Abdulai didn’t understand and at that time he had just arrived to Kuwait and so he was scared and didn’t know what to do. Three days later his sponsor came in the evening. His sponsor paid the people holding Abdulai and he was released into his custody. He felt like he was a slave being traded.

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Since April Abdulai has been working at this sheep pen out in the middle of nowhere. His meals are bread for breakfast, rice for lunch and rice for dinner. He doesn’t have electricity except for a small solar panel that charges his phone and his flashlight. The sponsor gave him a smartphone with a phone line that has internet which is how he is able to get online. He found my blog while researching slavery in Kuwait trying to understand what rights he had and why things are the way they are. According to Abdulai he is getting paid although he ran into an issue recently. His first two salaries he had the sponsor send to Ghana since it wasn’t safe to keep his money in his tent. Then the other 3 salaries he told the sponsor to keep with him. But when he asked for them at the end of last month the sponsor wouldn’t give it to him. After an argument he was told to give back the mobile phone. Abdulai gave him the phone but told him part of the contract says I get a phone so if you’re taking it back then I want to go back to Ghana. So they took him to the agency who gave him two choices.

1) He leaves to Ghana but doesn’t get paid.
2) He stays and he would get paid. He chose to stay.

At this point I wanted to know what he wanted out of all of this so I asked him. He replied telling me he just wanted to get the word out that slavery still exists. He told me back in Ghana he didn’t live in a tent, he lived in a home, a decent one. He told me two months back when the weather was really hot he started to bleed from his nose. So he told his sponsor he wanted to go to the hospital to check and see why he was bleeding. His sponsor told him he wasn’t going to take him to the hospital but instead should just wrap his head with a shemagh. I asked Abdulai if he wanted to go back to Ghana or if he wanted to stay and get a better job. He told me he wanted to stay but get a better job since that’s why he originally came to Kuwait.

On my way back to the car he gave me a tour of the property. Right outside his tent door was a bench, that’s where he sleeps at night since it’s too hot to sleep inside the tent. He then showed me the sheep pen which he attends to all day long, seven days a week. He doesn’t understand what the sheep are for, in the five months he’s been there none were sold or taken or anything. We walked together back to my car and said our goodbyes.

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In some ways Abdulai is lucky. He’s educated and speaks English which is how he was able to reach out to me and now I can shed light on him and hopefully with the help of the blog find him a better job. But this also got me thinking, what about all the other people who don’t speak any English and don’t know how to reach out for help? And what if this was the tipping point for change? With local telecoms phasing out regular phones and pushing out smartphones with internet access to all their customers, are more and more people like Abdulai going to come forward and share their story with the world?


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119 comments, add your own...


  1. الله يسامحكم says:

    If you’re travelling to work in another country and you don’t see the contract that is your fault not the employer. Also, you should’ve read about Kuwait’s laws for expats and employees. The blame is on all three parties:Abdulai, the middle man, and the kuwaiti guy. I’m not defending the kuwaiti guy but you should’ve prepared yourself better.

    • Kulsum says:

      You are right and then wrong, I think. Yes, he should have read the contract specially so that he is educated. But how can you say it’s not an employer’s fault? An employer should explicitly and openly be aware of what information has been fed the the prospective employee. These very employers hire many people through the ‘agency’ and I’m sure most if not all of them have been lied to about what they will be paid and worked for. But they continue to rely on the same agencies because they don’t give a damn. They want slaves.

      • Emmanuel Boateng says:

        ,
        Bro/sister, I also experience the same problem. The contract i sing in Ghana is 350kd, but when I reach here the contract i sing is 7kd 30kd overtime. Even am two years three months, my i received 100kd just once.

    • joe says:

      you’re an asshole. This is a LONG running scam in Kuwait. a country full of people like you. If you justify this i can only guess as to what YOU do

    • Ali says:

      Abdulai mentioned that they refused to give hime a copy of the contract he signed in Ghana. Why do you assume he didn’t read it? I think he read it and it matched his aspirations but the agent there didn’t give him a copy since this is all a mirage.

  2. Loon says:

    This is despicable on too many levels.

  3. Abraham says:

    Yes you should read the contract doesn’t mean that you need to be subjected to a place were you sleep in a tent with no electricity and get under paid. If you are so concerned I bet you will not even survive a day in that tent and your preaching about reading the contract. The kuwait law has been made to protect people and not abuse them my friend. If you can help the guy do that and the Almighty will be pleased with your deeds.

    • الله يسامحكم says:

      That’s why it’s important to read both the contract and laws, so that in an event of a breach of contract or law he can sue his employer. I’m not sure if living in a tent was part of the contract but if it is then he signed up for it. That is his problem. No one put a gun to his head and told him to sign the contract.

      • Mrs. Mohammad says:

        A little harsh….I read and signed my initial contract in my home country before coming to Kuwait. When I arrived in Kuwait, they made me also sign the Arabic version of the contract…stating that if there are any problems, only the Arabic version can stand up in court. I asked, “how do I know what it says in Arabic?” and they just kept telling me that the English was an exact translation – so I asked if it is an exact translation, why would the Arabic version be the only one that can be legally enforced? And I refused to sign until I had a person I trust who read Arabic, read and compare both contracts. There WERE minor differences (nothing that really affected anything – work start time was 10 minutes different for example), but I am just wondering how all the uneducated workers who can’t read/write in Arabic, how they get along with the Arabic contracts?

        Even so, even if he didn’t read the contract and he signed it, I would beg anyone to justify the lies, the locking him up, the withholding of pay, lack of medical care, or other abuses that too many people suffer – NONE of that could be in the contract, no matter how many times it was read or translated.

      • Bader says:

        Im sorry but I honestly do not agree with you. Yes, no one put a a gun to his head but they did deceive him. Even when he was told that he could leave and didn’t, doesn’t mean he likes it. All that means is that he has responsibilities back home. Contracts? Don’t mean much in the middle east.

        Do some researcher on the labor workers in Qatar for example, the ones building the country for 2022 world cup, watch them read their contracts and listen to what they have to say.

        Why is this done only to people from 3rd world countries? because they are desperate people. 1000 dollars a month may not seem much to you but to a person from ghana its the equivalent of 10s of thousands for you.

        People are conned all over the world, even in kuwait. The only thing its a lot harder because you need more to please people.

        This “khadama” module is adopted all through out Kuwait even in the biggest companies.

        You don’t like it, get out is always the response.

        Part of what you say makes sense, but I was raised in a household that thought me many things, one of which is that those who are more power are the ones who have the biggest burden and the first to be held accountable.

        If i slapped my younger brother, my dad would put me in my place.

        The sad, truth is, whether or not you agree, that in this part of the world, some blood is more valuable than other.

        When a society does not take care of the weak, than it is a weak society.

  4. الله يسامحكم says:

    On a side note, is his name is arabic عبدلي?

  5. You Got my mail says:

    Mark, If you are willing to share his details or want to be presented. I would like to discuss with his former employer for his release. I think I can get him a job but not really for $1000.

    Definitly more than 70KD and he will have a decent room on his own. Everything else is per the Kuwaiti labour law.

    We aren’t all souless people.

    Sho’oun can take care of his case if he chooses to go that route. They will ask his former employer to release him and pay him. because this is just beyong unacceptabe.

    • Ahmad says:

      I commend you for trying to assist this poor man. But there is one important thing you must be aware of, if the gentleman from Ghana has a visa that says (عامل مزرعة – رعاية غنم – مزارع) you will NOT be able to transfer his visa except to another farm or sheep herding position. Ministry of Shouun did this in order to try to reduce the exploitation (such as these) of people and the abuse of “Farm Visas” from Alwafra and Abdilli.
      Hence, his only option would be leaving the country at the mercy of his employer.

  6. Ali says:

    Oh my god this story is so horrible. I think this is the tipping point mark. GTFO while you can.

  7. Khalid says:

    Someone needs to report this to the authorities. I’m sure not even working in the public sector is an asshole.

  8. Khalid says:

    Someone needs to report this to the authorities. I’m sure not everyone working in the public sector is an asshole.

  9. Inkuwait says:

    Absolutely awful and in a way not unlike the people who charge migrants 1000s to ship them off across the sea to Europe in rubber boats, abandoning them to drown.
    If only someone could name and shame the employer.

  10. Mubarak says:

    The ****? How in God’s name did this happen? Are the people in control of immigration so lackluster that this kind of thing can happen? This is so stupid. So stupid that’s infuriating. How is the government not prosecuting these criminals? What’s the point of reducing the number of migrant workers if people can just bring in some unsuspecting migrant into Kuwait against their will?

    I’m going to need a punching bag to deal with this anger.

  11. laila says:

    The first step should be to talk to a lawyer to find out what his legal recourse is.

    • Khalid says:

      He can’t even go to the hospital for medical treatment , do you really think he’s just going to be able to call up a lawyer to ask about his rights and have them implemented? Not to mention pay for the lawyers fee? Inappropriate and misguided comment.

  12. Bo Asker says:

    If an educated man can be fooled this easily by a man from his country i can not blame the Illiterate people.

    • Patrick says:

      So lets make them slaves?

      It’s so easy to make these kind of assumptions sitting where you are. It’s not always black and white. Not everyone has the luxury you and I have.

      • Bo Asker says:

        How come this is a slave problem when he can choose to leave to his country? he accept to stay here regarding the life he is living now. i don’t think this story is 100% true unless you hear the other part from the sponser man.

        • Sunny says:

          Dear most People decide to stay because of the loans (some even have sold the ONLY PROPERTY they own) they have taken to reach here and get THAT PARTICULAR dream job… they dream about earning much better salary and repaying the loans etc etc..

          the person cant simply go back to his country… as you think…. its not that simple

          .

  13. Zharsha says:

    I salute u mark for giving ur time and effort to this man.

  14. UCF says:

    So many sick people in this country .. makes me want to puke ! Hope the guy that put him there see the worst happen to his family and loved ones!

  15. Mathai says:

    Unfortunately this is not uncommon. I was once shocked when a tea boy came up to me while I was working on a flyer in Photoshop and suggested some improvements. Turned out he had a bachelors degree and was a graphics designer. He got cheated by an agent who had promised him a job in a design company.

    He couldn’t read the contract since it was in Arabic and they didn’t give him an opportunity to have it translated. The other thing is that they’re passports are taken away and given only after the contract runs out at the end of two years. Most of them take out a loan to pay the agent thinking they can repay it with the higher salary they get here. But that higher salary is what the manpower supply company charges the client. They get only about 50-60%.

    Luckily that poor fellow got paid at the end of two years and got his passport back and escaped on the next flight back to India.

    Some countries like India have started TV and radio campaigns to raise awareness but these agents feed on the desperation of people so I don’t see this practice ending soon.

    Plus, there’s a ton of money to be made in the visa trade in Kuwait. Who’s gonna say no to that?

  16. Aussie says:

    In Countries where they support an ongoing war on one side and refuse to take in refugees on the other -even from their own skin and religion- then blame the rest of the world for not taking them in, i didn’t find it that shocking reading this story, and am sure as sun there are plenty of similar or even worse stories.

    Germany & Austria are taking in refugees, what are you guys doing?

    • ahmed says:

      Kuwait declared the other day that they would give amnesty to Syrians and wave all visa’s fees for them, not deporting any Syrians here due to the conflict. Today it was reported that they waffled again. This government is not consistent in implementing nor enforcing laws, so this man is at the mercy of the system which is not enforced and his pea-brained bedouin sponsor openly defies the law.

      • Marc Gonzalves says:

        How do you know his “pea-brained bedouin sponsor” is BEDOUIN?

      • jo says:

        yeah man well intentioned but there are plenty of ENGLISH SPEAKING, AMERICAN educated kuwaitis that are far worse than bedouins. i could name a few having worked with them but then, id expect a knock at my door.

        • Mohammad says:

          so the “ENGLISH SPEAKING, AMERICAN educated” are thought to be better than Bedouins?

          Go jo yourself you narrow minded jo

    • Inkuwait says:

      Kuwait has donated a huge amount of money to Syria. All of last year there were lorries in every area collecting clothes and blankets. With all due respect Aussi- yes ALL countries could do more , but ‘us guys’ haven’t don nothing.
      Again I reiterate- we could ALL do more.

      • Aussie says:

        You guys donated a huge amount of money that at a portion of it went to the wrong hands, am not talking about blankets and medicines, am talking about extremist who funded people they didn’t know, which lead to more chaos and sub rebels fighting each other.

        Why would EU who didn’t have an influence on the war in Syria (unlike Arab countries, US, Australia who just poured more gas into a fire instead of putting it down) have the moral duty of fixing someone else’s f*uckups ?

        • Inkuwait says:

          I take it you are a migrant to Australia- what is your original homeland? You seem very bitter. No one is denying that visa trading and exploitation of workers is horrific in The Gulf but how does THAT have anything to do with Syria / extremism / migration of refugees and charity donations?

          • Aussie says:

            If you are talking original homeland mentality, you are contradicting your self with that logic mate, you should be taking in refugees, not the EU, it is rational to host refugees from countries who are related to you in terms of blood, religion, language and region rather than being taken by countries who have a different religion, different language, different blood and are more remote.

            I am Australian who worked in Kuwait, SA & UAE. I can assure you i am familiar with day to day events happening in that region and all over the world, and was it for good intention (liberate Syrian people from a dictatorship) or bad intention (Killing the “Arab Spring”) I’ve met people while working there who thought sending money to Syria for people to buy weapons is a good idea, i am not talking void.

            If Kuwait and other gulf countries think themselves as generous (sending medicine, food and clothes), let me correct you that isn’t generosity if are selfish, you guys (Arabs in general) should clean up your own mess you’ve created, and take in refugees.

            • Mohammad says:

              Mess we created?
              Have you heard of the dozens of wars and air strikes “you guys” created and took part in?

              Kuwaitis make up less than 25% of the country. that’s a demographic disaster. and don’t you think its a bit racialist of you to assume only Arabs should deal with the Syrian crises? would the same be said about Africans, Asian or God forbid Jewish people?

              • Mohammad 2 says:

                Kuwaities make less than 25% of the country is
                a) the choice of the Kuwaiti public and government because of
                b) the refusal to grant citizenship to anyone who’s father isn’t a kuwaiti

                Australia grants citizenship to kuwaitis, but kuwait will never grant citizenship to an australian.

                if kuwait chooses to create a demographic imbalance by not granting citizenship and then by importing foreigners then it’s a demographic disaster it chose to have.

            • Inkuwait says:

              Yep- indian refugee to Australia , you hate us…. Moving swiftly on.

    • Mohammad says:

      We’ve done more than the rest of the world combined. and “we” is Kuwait alone

  17. Bobader says:

    I am kuwaiti, first class citizen too since kuwait’s foundation. Let me tell you that entire Kuwait is built on racism, every single house has slavery in its own way, have you seen a Kuwaiti family without sleep-in maids and workers? They all have them, and every single one of these workers have their passport taken from them.

    Thats why my people are nothing but failures, only good for eating and shitting in their homes and reproducing a failed offspring, thats why a nation of 1 million has 0 accomplishments to humanity since its foundation 250 years back. Everyone is only interested in making money off people, regardless of enslavement or not, and to have their stomachs filled like pigs, and to go home to have a nice shit.

    One more year I will be granted my UK citizenship, and although my love for Kuwait ( as a country) is so much, and my love to the Amir of Kuwait and the ruling family (which do care about their people) are high, the people on the otherhead deserve to be burnt alive, they dont deserve what the rulers give them from money and incentives.

    If It was me I would make all Kuwaities clean the roads for a decade to teach them a lesson, I am ashamed to be part of them, I am a 30 year old Teacher in a public school, and I teach my students that us Kuwaities are failures living in a beautiful country with rulers, we provided nothing for humanity, only for our cupcakes and dicks.

    • Q8y says:

      “I am a 30 year old Teacher in a public school, and I teach my students that us Kuwaities are failures living in a beautiful country with rulers, we provided nothing for humanity, only for our cupcakes and dicks.”

      You have these words coming out of you as a “Teacher” and you’re complaining that Kuwaitis are failures?

      • Bobader says:

        My students need to know WHY we have failed as kuwaities, why we have made no milestone in science technology humanity, we are known for nothing. Its not the country, its not the rulers, both the country and rulers gave us everything we need, its the people, FULL STOP.

        I want my students to change this, my generation the one before me and the one after me have all failed, all their money goes to travel, discos, food, sex, zero achievement. All the educated folks are doing it for money, same with doctors.

        We have no scientific progress, or humanitarian. Look at europe setting quotas for syrian refugees while we are throwing out the option for long term visas for the ones already here.

        I inform my students that we as Kuwaities have nothing to be proud off, I had pissed parents including one of my students is the son of a minister imagine who had me questioned and wanted me sanctioned, but the love of my students kept me going.

        Kuwaities Have failed. In every, single, thing, we are good for nothing and we have nothing to show the world for it.

        • Inkuwait says:

          Rather than pointing out your students’ families and country’s failures, wouldn’t it be better to show them their potential by finding something positive in their daily lives ….thank God you don’t teach any of my kids!

    • Firas says:

      I appreciate your honesty. God bless you and all good Kuwaitis

    • ahmad says:

      Prime example of an asshole who shouldn’t be allowed to teach and the fucked up educational system where people who get low marks <75% and can't get accepted in a decent college go to the teaching sector. And since your my age that's probably your case since ALL those who got into the education college got low marks. They somehow expect our youth to become geniuses when the guys teaching them got low marks. Thank god they raised up the needed grades to get accepted, better late than never.

      Anyways … You're no different than the idiots who say we are failures and do nothing about it. You're a teacher teaching kids, show them what's wrong and teach them instead of telling them we are failures. You want change you have to work for it. If you can't or get bored and tried of it then you shouldn't be a teacher. Being a teacher is about making a difference in children's lives, not something you choose to be because you want a government job and couldn't get accepted in other fields.

      You don't see me bashing out lazy people and asking them to change when I myself am lazy ? I change myself and the people I can , they continue to do so until we have a decent society. That's how you change people. Not by telling them you're a dick. You show them the correct way and explain to them why it's better than whatever they're doing

      I'm sure the fathers of the guys who built this country educated the "golden generation" correctly to build an outstanding country in the 60-70's.

      I'm also 99% sure that your family has 1-2 (not surprised if more) maids/drivers … etc
      Why don't you work and change the way your family lives instead of bashing out a whole people ?

      And yes , my family doesn't have a maid/driver or slave worker. In fact we enslaved a relative (he will probably read this lol) for a week and made him work as as one of these poor workers when he tried to get a maid to our house just to teach him a lesson.

      Have fun in the UK.

      PS

      Don't cry when they invoke your citizenship and take away your privileges when you're caught.

      • Bobader says:

        What are you talking about. My name is on the deans list at Manchester and top of my class in 2007. What failures? I decided to teach in a public school for the money incentives the government gives me.

        In fact I am the only UK educated teacher in all of Asimah province and my students should thank God they have me as a teacher, better than these egyptian teachers with fake degrees.

        And I am teaching my students nothing but the truth about their failed people. Every single one of them have dreams of being a policeman and buying their first cars and chasing girls while others are thinking of nothing but petroleum college in KU and then digging their parents wasta for a job, a bunch of failures like their own parents.

        The worst part is that I taught two years in Essex east London and the students here are 95% not raised up properly because their parents have no idea how to raise a child, that’s what breeds a failed community. I am citizen by kuwaits foundation meaning my citizenship is class 1 and can only be revoked by an amiri decision, yet I feel ashamed when someone abroad asks me if I am Kuwaiti because of stories like this one.

    • joe says:

      dude i wish i knew people like you when i still lived there. i gtfo after enough ppl told me i should and im 3rd generation expat.

      I dont resent richness, wealth or class. So many kuwaitis think the rest of us are jealous and that’s why we bitch and moan. but after the horrible things ive been through i just had to leave. And the things i went through were tiny compared to what most low income expats have to go through. Although this story is quite shocking, for the last 6 years ive known tonnes of people like this. Only now is this making it to blogs and public consciousness. Sadly for many people, its already too late. There has been an active body count for maids, labourers, and other indentured slaves in kuwait

      • Mohammad says:

        Mess we created?
        Have you heard of the dozens of wars and air strikes “you guys” created and took part in?

        Kuwaitis make up less than 25% of the country. that’s a demographic disaster. and don’t you think its a bit racialist of you to assume only Arabs should deal with the Syrian crises? would the same be said about Africans, Asian or God forbid Jewish people?

      • Mohammad says:

        I speak for all Kuwaitis, dead and living when i say we are all happy you left. and no there are no bobaders here. just this diluted one.

    • Bo Asker says:

      maids and workers are maid and workers they do there job for a salary every mounth and they have a contract that they agree to work for it and get paied. how come this is slavery ?
      when a maid get paied 50 or 100 KD a mounth and send the money to her country that she and her family can live a better life where is the slavery here ? you know the kd is one of the highest currency in the world changing it to there money will be alot and dont forget that they are in-house workers that they sleep and food free also they get phones heck smart ones and internet,electrecity, AC, ..etc , so where is the slavery ?

      • Farah says:

        Your grammar and spelling are atrocious. I can’t believe you graduated from Manchester and on the Deans List, no less. Terrible English and a bad attitude. Thank God you don’t teach my kids.

        • Sunny says:

          they both are 2 different persons…. check the name carefully

        • jo says:

          Farah, I’m not going to speak FOR him – but I myself am an English teacher and when I NEED to, I pay attention to my English. When we are all typing off of our phones, we can’t be bothered to give a shit. Maybe you think using words like atrocious make you special because you are using the Queen’s English. The rest of us don’t give a shit. sorry.

          And i appreciate what he teaches Kuwaiti youth. It’s the truth. Kuwait has become a waste of space and its citizens a waste of skin. It could do so much better. And some people will choose to highlight the good and progress that way. Others are the watchers of culture and highlight the negative and try and eradicate it. This is EQUALLY if not more important. But it takes both.

          • Mohammad says:

            the truth that Kuwaitis are a waste of skin? can this conversation get any uglier? i wish i know from what dirt hole you come from. trust me i have so much to say about it.

        • Abdullah says:

          well said Farah, what a bad example he is portraying to our kids. I hope he leaves and never teaches here.

      • Farah says:

        There = location
        Their = ownership
        They’re = they are

    • May says:

      I love my kuwaiti colleagues at work how they are broad minded and respects other nationalities. How they always made my day easy… Not all Kuwaitis are bad wallah. People has their own attitude in respect of what their nationalities are.
      I feel sorry for many many expats like me who was cheated by their recruiters. Not all people are smart enough to read and understant the contracts they signed. Why do people get fooled, its because of too many reasons. They are naive, ignorant….not all people are born smart but they learn from their experience.
      Good kuwaitis become victims of bad Kuwaitis because as a whole if 1 kuwaiti do bad they think all of them are bad. So in revenge, those good kuwaitis are the victims. They get killed, hurt.
      I am grateful that i work with educated, smart, GOOD Kuwaiti people.
      For Abdulai, i can not offer you job but i will pray for you inshallah God will not leave you in that situation longer. He will save you one day inshallah.

    • Mohammad says:

      We don’t have first, second or third class citizens. And out of experience, Kuwaitis who use this kind of language are actually recently naturalized.

      If you’ve seen your family abusing domestic workers than you should’ve tried to “fix” that at your own capacity, not assume that that’s the norm for other families. It is not.

      Clean up your act and before wishing your compatriots to be burned alive. People like you are whats wrong with this country. So i wish you leave to your promised land soon and leave them kids alone.

      and speaking of failures, your comments are proof that you are a failure as both a teacher who attacks his students pride in their selves and country and a failure as a “first class” citezen who will give up on his country and go to England where we all know you will be treated as a first class human being.

  18. smd says:

    This exposes the reality of Middle East – Modern day Slavery!

  19. Bianca says:

    I’m so happy you did this!! If I can help in any way I’m ready!

  20. desert8 says:

    Mark,Thanks for taking the time and going out of your way to highlight this poor man’s story.

  21. maryiam says:

    When I did charity work in Kuwait, consistently, all the muslim victims of violence always stated to me that they thought they thought they would be safe in a muslim country like Kuwait because the muslims in Kuwait would never harm them, because they were also muslims. They were wrong consistently.

  22. Abba yunus says:

    My God!The issue of contract terms does not mean u should treat your fellow human being like that,just imagine feeding them with unwholesome foods,the place of his abode,the physiosycho torture,withholding his salary,where is the love?Is total cruelty n man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.Let us be practising Moslems not nominals.

  23. Abba yunus says:

    Good job done,Mr Max

  24. Firas says:

    Well done Mark!

  25. Kuwait says:

    Yes Mark, if you are willing, please share his location. I’d like to drive down and help him personally.

  26. Kuzbara says:

    This is absolutely inhumane. No religion, or basic human instinct would find this treatment to be just. I Feel sorry for Abdulai and others in a similar situation. The problem of modern day slavery, which people refer to, isn’t a middle east phenomena. I’m not defending the practice but people must be aware that, as Abdulai mentioned, the agent in Ghana was the one who tricked him to come to the middle east for a better pay. It’s those Agents in labour providing countries that trick their fellow citizens to work in the Gulf under false promises. That same agent tells a local business owner that he can get workers to do certain jobs. The local owner might also be under the assumption that that worker is indeed coming to work as a shepherd as is the case with Abdulai.
    One idea is to help kill the practice is to have the contract signed in their home countries through the embassy before coming to work.

  27. Jafar says:

    Thank you Mark for this excellent post, I really appreciate your time and effort in bringing this story. I was amazed by his below statement and his endurance

    ” I’m a muslim and what I have been taught is that a man should not be ashamed of his work if it brings you good deeds and avoid you from stealing, so I’m not ashamed of being a shepherd although I’m well educated but the thing is my freedom have shackled. ”

    even i have seen and heard so many similar stories in the past about people suffering. One such case was of my home town guy who was professional carpenter, came to Kuwait on a false promise made by agency who provided visa, after coming to Kuwait he was shocked to learn that he will be cooking for one Kuwaiti family, he says he never prepared a decent cup of tea in his life and cooking is out of the question. When he refused to cook he was beaten and they dropped him back to agency office. after lot of suffering some how he managed to go back to India within 4 months.

    Hope these agency who are caught doing such thing get penalized with harsh punishment to make sure they don’t play with innocent people in future.

    Keep up the good work Mark ! Thumbs up

  28. LWDLIK says:

    Well done Mark for sharing this poor man’s plight. What else can we do to help?

  29. Mos20 says:

    I’m ashamed at our basic lack of humanity. Especially in this day and age – slavery sadly still exists and is clearly quite rife.

  30. dfine says:

    Why don’t we black list Kuwait sheep trade.
    Until they give the shepard’s better pay and conditions. Like what you did for the fish trade.

    I feel bad for the sheeps, it must be sooo hot…

    • Farah says:

      Way to miss the point ENTIRELY.

      • dfine says:

        No I didn’t, I am just tired of it.

        Plus to be frank, if you are willing to be a security guard, shepherd is much better.think about it

        If only his conditions was better. Common you in free air, no one nagging on you. You know what a security guard is.. Harish of a building, right. tenant waking you up at all hours… common what would you rater do.

        • jo says:

          dfine – you’re kind of an idiot. Haris will make make tonnes of money on the side, has quite a bit of freedom for a fairly low amount of work and has the comfort of a room. Maybe you’re a local and so don’t understand how hot it is to LIVE in the fucking desert and live every day knowing you were cheated into being there. But hey that’s where the you being an idiot part comes in.

    • Homoud says:

      LOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  31. Theq8tyGodfather says:

    Mark would you by any chance have his CV available?

    I could try to see if I can help out.

    For his scenario, I am reading a lot of depressing stories like these. Slavery is still always there and it is shameful for a country that is Muslim to keep a Muslim (or any other religion or human for that matter) as a slave. I do not accept that the contract is what he signed up for as we are humans, not blood sucking humans. This person from his comment is a good Muslim and understands his religion and for the life of me I would not want to be his current sponsor on the Day of Judgement. I don’t need to explain anymore and if I can help then by God I will do so.

    I understand why the sponsor has the sheep in the pen as they want the animals to breed to be sold at a later stage (I was offered to open up such a project which I know requires for someone to be in the jakure (farmland) 24/7. Another issue at the moment I have heard is that prices of sheep in the market are being sold for less than they should be. Not as profitable as hoped.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this and I can’t wait to see what comments pop up to my comment here.

    * Note: Not everyone is the same, keep that in mind.

  32. Neil Scott says:

    A very thought provoking article Mark.
    Sadly, all to often, this is the norm in Kuwait.
    As an English guy I was positively discriminated against whilst in Kuwait and this stems from the top down.
    Its been interesting reading the comments, from the offers of support to corruption to not helping Syria. The honest truth though is, as much as I love Kuwait and the Kuwaiti’s, money has turned them into greedy selfish bigoted individuals who abuse their wealth and position. Pretty much the same as UK was in the 1920’s with clear class differences. Government and the ministry’s are pretty powerless and ineffective.
    This poor guy would be better trying to make it to an embassy and escape the country just like hundreds of maids do each year.
    Whilst I can’t comment, I can ask and wonder what the Emir and ruling family have to say or think about these situations. Whilst our Royal Family are actively discouraged from getting involved in politics its well known that the Government has to report in constantly and whilst not published there are plenty of rumours and stories of influential discussions.
    On the point of Syria just one thought, why are all these people set to risk their lives by crossing the med and heading for Europe instead of crossing land into other Arabic Countries? Is it that they are fully aware of how fragile the whole Middle East is?

    • joe says:

      Amen. and goodonya for not giving into the dark side – as SO many of your compatriots from the UK have. All the best on keeping your head in the game

    • Inkuwait says:

      No- it is because of the many benefits that are available to them in Europe – child benefit , healthcare , free education , guaranteed minimum wage, housing allowance , refugee status.

    • Mohammad says:

      “Kuwaiti’s, money has turned them into greedy selfish bigoted individuals who abuse their wealth and position”
      and that’s we discriminate. people like you should not be treated with dignity. you should be deported to Scottistan.

      • Human says:

        Really Man?
        THAT’S why we discriminate ?
        Can you with an honest heart and clear conscious say that our money has not turned many (not all, of course) of us into some sort of selfish, racist, or any of what he described?
        Open your eyes and look at our fellow citizens in every aspect of your daily life and you’ll see what he means.

        I appreciate your patriotism but sometimes we need to be realistic and look at our people from a new perspective to see what’s wrong.

        If you truly care about this country and love it as I do, and want it to be a better place for us and our kids. A better place for everyone! citizens and expats alike. you have to acknowledge the our flaws. Some are so shameful, I know, but we need to accept and acknowledge them before we can change them and have ourself a better place.

        so please stop shaming everyone who criticises Kuwait. It’s through criticism that we “start” changing to the better.

  33. Ms. Roni says:

    Ok, some good some not so nice comments. This is a desperate person in a desperate situation at least inhumane. If this was the States rallies would commence Lawyers would be hired just because. I don’t want to read that this 25 year old died from heat exhaustion or malnutrition. I want to know were better than that as people all people and give him the benefit we should all have. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    • Farah says:

      Dear Ms. Roni,

      You forgot that your precious America was built on the backs of slaves, and with all the crazy protests rallying for equality of BLACK LIVES and to STOP the VERY APPARENT RACISM in your beautiful country, I highly doubt anyone would give a damn about this man’s situation. Get off your high horse.

      • AG says:

        While this is one small part of our history in America I am proud to say we’ve learned from our mistakes. For the most part. Of course America is far from perfect and there are still some small minded people with their racist views, however, we do have laws in place to protect people from discrimination when it really matters. Fortunately, the educated, intelligent, caring individuals who want to help outnumber the idiots by far.

        • jo says:

          i get what you’re saying but… they are still bombing the crap out of poor third world countries. The harm America does abroad is far worse than the harm it does internally. Kuwait on the other hand, is far worse to those already in the country. In a competition between who is worse – I think it would be a tie except in terms of bodycount the US has killed FAR more people and shred so many more families to bits.

      • lolguy says:

        Stuff still happens in America, yes. The difference is once it is reported, there is appropriate action taken and those are fault are brought to task. Feel discriminated? Report it. Racially abused? Report and sue.

        Here, people are still debating whether this guy in a hut is at fault.

      • Khalid says:

        You dear girl, as can clearly be construed from your pugilistic comments, are a very (likely undeservedly) supercilious, narrow minded, and resentful person. The chip on your shoulder – and your mean spirited attacks – aside, you have not added anything positive or constructive to this conversation or post.

        I suppose you are a Cum Laude graduate of the Harvard University School of Law with a brilliant, comprehensive background in American civil rights and world history, aren’t you dear, so I and everyone else should just shut up in the face of your shining intellect.

    • Inkuwait says:

      Except if you are a mexican immigrant trying to hop a fence of course.

  34. Guywhowantstohelp says:

    Mr. Abdulai

    I apologize on behalf of my people.

    If you are reading this, please contact me at this email: alhouti.a@gmail.com

    I would like to help.

    All the best.

    • Khalid says:

      Thank you for being the only one aside from Mark to offer this poor gentleman concrete (I Pray) assistance with his outrageous and deeply unacceptable situation. I hope you can help him, gowak Allah.

  35. Bo Asker says:

    Dear Mr.MARK maybe you can help him by giving him some money from the stupid barney AD that cover your whole website.

    “In some ways Abdulai is lucky. He’s educated and speaks English which is how he was able to reach out to me and now I can shed light on him and hopefully with the help of the blog find him a better job.”

    Sheding light’s on him will not help him.could’ve better helped with your post about trash bins near your apartment.

    thank you

  36. Urban says:

    To the topic,

    I believe AbuLoai is not the only one in kuwait.
    There are 100’s or 1000’s who have been brought to kuwait by terms or contracts saying they will be paid XyZ amount, but reaching here the scenerio is totally diffrent.

    Less salary / No Holidays / Have to work minimum of 18hrs even if sick.

    I hope some good people will stand for him & he can live better life :)

  37. AQ says:

    Cant believe my eyes…Reading some of the comments…Dam

    If people think in this way, things are not gonna get better anytime soon.

    Keep up the good work Mark.

    • Devil says:

      +1

      Self denial, initially.
      Should have read the contract.
      Speaks very well in English … Fake!
      Oh! My God! … Whats happening?!!
      (Can’t be happening) Try to get him out of sight …

      Some fake Messiah’s pop in
      Give me his location … mail ID … contact number.

      You read such stories day in and day out. All that matters is you color of passport and what deal you got.

      • Mohammad says:

        So basically there is nothing right Kuwaitis can do, even in asking to help the poor man would get you expact pack b*itching about how inhumane we are.

        what did you do to help? or do you also live in a tent?

  38. AmericanGirl says:

    I’m shocked at the number of people who are blaming the victim — in turn defending the illegal hiring practices some participate in.

    More importantly, is there anything we can do to help him? Does he have access to his passport if he wanted to leave? Is there a way to contact him directly about the possibility of other employment options outside of Kuwait?

  39. salman says:

    how can i help ?

  40. trazx says:

    This is horrible! Modern day slavery.

  41. MHz says:

    The issue is not only with Maids/Servants even people with working visa whose passports are with the companies.

    The intention of taking someone’s(employees) passport is to enslave them and take their freedom to leave when they want.

  42. Mohammad says:

    after reading this story i felt sick to my stomach for this man.

    15 mins later after reading the commenters turning this to Kuwaiti bashing, some calling them inhumane, others want locals to burn alive and other even claiming the sympathetic Kuwaitis are “fake” and Kuwaitis would never do any good unless they denounce their own country. my sympathy turned to hate -wrongfully i know- to everything non-Kuwaiti.

    It is never OK to make blanket statements. NEVER. Even to Kuwaitis. No matter how much you hate them or yourself.

  43. Ahmad says:

    Dear Mark or Abdulai
    Please contact me

    Ahmad

  44. howard says:

    To be honest i gotta say that its the middle man in Ghana fault, and if brother abdullahi doesn’t like it he can easily go back to Ghana and re join his school but he is a true Ghanaian liar, straight up lie, this dude job is a Sheppard and if he cant do it or deal with the weather then go the fuck back to Ghana, the middle man did this to him not us Kuwaitis, and mark i guess PF chang lawsuit didn’t teach ur Lebanese ass nothing, one day man trust me one day the guy protecting u will walk away and u will face the court here

  45. Cbr4040 says:

    Dear mark,
    Good day,
    First of all i appreciate for your hard work and respect what you did for abdulai..well they are many cases like this not only abduali is a victim of kuwaiti sponsor but we all.kuwaiti people life is based one 4 r 5 things if they dnt have they wouldn’t survive example. .. luxury cars,food,fashion,sponsorship system (kafeel)…thats y kuwaiti government is under big decision for destroying kafeel system and if it happens kuwaiti people ill be on streets like we see street dogs..
    I respect kuwait and i il do always because i have lived here more than 20years..i love kuwait more than my own country but kuwaiti people needs to change thier behaviour n attitude so kuwait ill shine at the top….

    Peace:)

  46. s says:

    we can’t do anything to help him with his work situation as i’m 100% positive there are others like him and it will probably take decades to change the rules here but why don’t we start a fundraiser for him since he wants out but needs the money?

    free him from the hell hole he’s “living” in.

  47. Wil says:

    I made a map about the topic of countries banning citizens working in the gulf fit reasons like this:

    https://ndthl.cartodb.com/viz/e09e337a-7f90-11e4-9dfa-0e9d821ea90d/public_map


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