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'Go to Gulf with rights' campaign to help expats

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) In a bid to prevent human rights violations among Indian migrant workers in the Gulf region, Amnesty International India and UAE Exchange India have launched a "Go to Gulf with rights" campaign.

The awareness campaign will provide information about migrant workers’ rights under Indian and international law, legally authorised channels for migration, pre-departure training programmes, and the risks of irregular migration, an Amnesty International statement said Friday.

Migrant workers and their families will also be able to access information about support systems in destination countries, and details of Indian embassies and NGOs that can provide assistance.

"Migrant workers who travel to the Gulf can face exploitation even before leaving home. They are known to be charged excessive recruitment fees and deceived about their contracts, leaving them more vulnerable to human rights abuses in the Gulf, including human trafficking and forced labour," G. Ananthapadmanabhan, chief executive of Amnesty International India, said in the statement.

The workers will be equipped with a safe migration booklet, pamphlet and a toll free telephone number 1800-200-1303.

V. George Antony, managing director and country head of UAE Exchange India, a financial services firm, said that this pioneering campaign will be featured in UAE Exchange offices for the next six months, and will help prospective migrants learn about their rights and how to migrate safely.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), nearly 600,000 workers in the Gulf region and the Middle East are victims of forced labour, trapped in jobs into which they have been coerced and deceived, and which they cannot leave.

Many of these workers are Indian citizens employed in low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs in construction, manufacturing and the domestic sector.

There are over six million expatriate Indians in the six Gulf nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.