Poverty, Poor Conditions Drive Gulf Migrant Workers to Suicide

Early this September, the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), a Bahrain-based nongovernmental organization (NGO), announced thatsuicides among foreign workers was up to 60 people this year. This figure does not include failed suicide attempts or those categorized as traffic accidents or work-related injuries.

The MWPS’s spokeswoman said that the increasing number of suicides was mostly linked to poor financial conditions. A number of employers have dismissed foreign workers “as a result of the Bahrain events’ impact on the economic situation overall, not to mention other personal reasons that lead workers to commit suicide.”
Gulf phenomenon

The phenomenon of foreign workers committing suicide is not only limited to Bahrain. It is a notable phenomenon in all Gulf countries and the number of victims is on the rise. Not a day goes by in these countries without a suicide story being reported by media outlets.
Even though there are no official statistics and available figures do not include unregistered cases or cases registered under other categories, one cannot ignore this phenomenon, often overshadowed by the sparkle of the Gulf cities’ night lights.
Individuals who find themselves forced to commit suicide have different stories with different details. Therefore, the circumstances and factors leading them to commit suicide require serious studies. This, in turn, requires academic efforts from Gulf countries and labor exporting countries. However, this needs the approval of the responsible authorities in Gulf countries and their recognition of the seriousness of the matter, knowing that the victims are at the bottom of the social pyramid.

TAP – the exploitation and treatment can be horrific in individual cases with dreadful cruelty.  There is no safety net, and no escape with passports in the keep of the employers.  Endless numbers of poor people are keen to work abroad as they are told of the much higher salaries they can earn, and imagine it’s going to be a kind of heaven.  The reality can be very different, with sexual exploitation and regular beatings hard to live with.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

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