News: Israel & Chinese Indentured Servants

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Melanie Orhant (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 16:15:49 -0500

Kav La'Oved has recently recieved information that the some 1000 Chinese
workers from the Fujing region who were recruited for agriculutrual work
for the AMIT company in Israel. Each worker paid the equivalent of US$
7,300 to recruiting agencies in China for the oppurtunity to work in Israel.

7,300 dollars a month plus interest rates on the loans taken to cover this
expense means that the workers will spend most of their first year of
employment just paying off this debt.

This large debt hanging over the heads of the workers grants the employers
a great deal of leverage. Any complaint by workers is answered by the
threat of deportation back to China where there is little oppurtunity to
ever repay the debt.

Kav La'Oved has long been familiar with high "placement fees" charged to
migrant workers but the fee of US$ 7,300 is simply overwhelming.

Israel law prohibts personnel contractors from charging or collecting
directly or indirectly from workers any fees from workers that they employ.

Kav La'Oved is bringing this matter to the attention of the media, the
Ministry of Labor and the Knesset Special Committee on Migrant Workers in
our efforts to bring a halt to this practice.

The State of Israel must supervise and regulate the mechanisms for
recruiting migrant workers and do all that is possible to insure that the
rights of those who are brought here to serve the needs of the Israeli
economy are protected. Indendtured servitude is hardly in accordance with
this obigation.

Melanie Orhant

Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590

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