In what must definitely be a first for authorities in Kuwait, the Criminal Court has sentenced a Kuwaiti and an Egyptian businessman to life imprisonment for selling visas to 400 expats at KD1,500 each. Four others, a Saudi, a Syrian and two Egyptians were given three years in jail for human trafficking offense.

The case was filed by dozens of Egyptian workers who were trafficked to Kuwait by the duo, and the sentencing comes in the wake of the decision by Egypt to suspend the sending of workers to Kuwait on account of rampant human trafficking.

Buying and selling visas is a criminal offense in Kuwait. Despite the law, many citizens engage in visa trade, and expats eager for a job in Kuwait buy visas from these traders. However, when they land in Kuwait, the workers find that the job promised to them is nonexistent. At best, they can hope to get a temporary job on probation for three months, after which they are forced to take up any marginal work in order to survive, while they look for permanent jobs in the market.

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