10:52pm , Thursday 2nd April 2020

Media-Friendly Glossary on Migration: Middle East Edition


To ‘abscond’ is to run away or escape secretly, typically to avoid detection or arrest. Within the context of migrant workers in the Arab states ‘absconding’ is a term often used by authorities to refer to migrant workers, especially migrant domestic workers, who leave their employer/sponsor without permission. Under the kafala sponsorship system, to leave the sponsor without permission pushes the migrant worker into an irregular situation, subject to arrest, detention or return to the employer by authorities or recruitment agencies. This also applies to workers who have escaped an exploitative or abusive situation. The term ‘absconds’ criminalizes the act of resigning or escaping abuse. It is preferable to use the term in quotation marks (‘absconded’) and to always analyse the situati