KUWAIT: Tier 2 Watch List
The Government of Kuwait does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated significant efforts by initiating more investigations and prosecutions; referring significantly more cases of illegal recruitment for criminal investigation; amending the domestic worker law to disincentivize unscrupulous recruiting practices; and operationalizing a government-run central recruitment company intended to reduce recruitment costs and combat illegal recruiting fees. The government also established a specialized prosecutorial unit to expedite trafficking cases, and, formally passed and funded its five-year national strategy to combat trafficking. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. Some officials continued to use arbitration and administrative penalties to resolve grievances filed by domestic and other migrant workers, instead of investigating such cases as human trafficking crimes. Protracted litigation and subsequent appeals processes led most victims to decline to file court cases, and widespread corruption sometimes dissuaded workers from reporting trafficking cases to law enforcement. The government did not regularly use formal established procedures for identifying victims, and some foreign workers who quit their jobs without permission were subjected to criminal penalties, detention, and/or deportation. Because the government has devoted sufficient resources to a written plan, that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards, Kuwait was granted a waiver per the Trafficking Victims Protection Act from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3. Therefore Kuwait remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year.