Episode 49: The Gulf's Dirty Secret

The Kafala or “sponsorship” system is used throughout the Gulf countries (as well as Jordan and Lebanon) to monitor and organize migrant laborers, from recruitment abroad to their management upon arrival, and particularly in the construction and domestic work sectors.

Under the Kafala system a migrant worker’s presence in a host country is linked entirely to their employer, with the effect that it’s not only difficult or impossible to switch jobs, but all elements of their daily lives from access to their passports, their freedom of movement, their living conditions, their ability to leave the country, and their basic dignities are all controlled by their employer. And there is often little to no regulation put in place to protect workers against exploitation and abuse. And abuse has been rampant for decades. From sexual harassment and rape of domestic workers to squalid living conditions and work without pay for construction workers and manual laborers.

This dirty secret is often hidden inside of people’s homes or in isolated camps, so access to covering and exposing it is extremely difficult to obtain, which is why the work of our guest Vani Saraswathi and Migrant-Rights.org is so critical.


Episode 19: No Name Kitchen

Bruno Morán is from Asturias, Spain, and is a co-founder of No Name Kitchen, an NGO that provides food, sleeping bags, basic necessities, and a community space for refugees in transit along the Serbian and Bosnian borders with Croatia.

In addition to providing basic services, No Name Kitchen has also become a primary point of contact for those who have been pushed back from the Croatian border, and as a result the organization has found itself involved in documenting and sharing the growing number of reported abuses by the Croatian border police against those who are seeking to cross into the EU, people who have no legal means of registering themselves in bordering countries.

In this episode we cover what is happening on the ground, the practical challenges of running a small front line organization, and some advice on how you can get involved in global events in your community.

Photo credit clockwise from top left: image 1 No Name Kitchen; images 2-4 Maria Feck, No Name Kitchen, Šid, Serbia.