The sentence imposed on a Tajik national does not reflect the reality of the situation in the field of protection of the rights of foreign citizens in Saudi Arabia, says a statement released by the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Dushanbe about a report of the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Tajikistan on the sentence imposed on Jamoliddin Rasoulov, the head of the employment agency “Jamol 2012”.  

In April this year, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan sentenced Rasoulov to twelve years in prison.  The sentence followed his conviction on charges of human trafficking and document forgery. 

The Prosecutor-General’s Office reported the verdict only on July 4, 2023.  

The “Jamol 2012” Company was involved in sending workers to Saudi Arabia.  

The statement by the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Dushanbe says, “Although the verdict reflects the independence of the judiciary bodies of Tajikistan and sovereignty of the country, the mention of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the report does not reflect the true situation and innovations in the field of the rights of foreign nationals and residents, their protection and care for them in the country.”

The statement says 13.4 million foreign nationals, including labor migrants, living in the Kingdom enjoy all rights and protection that makes the Kingdom one of the most attractive countries in the world for labor migration.

The statement also notes that Saudi Arabia is recognized by the international community, international and regional organizations as a country introducing international standards reflecting the quality of life, respect for the labor code.

“All this contributed to an increase in the flow of labor migrants to the Kingdom, whose total monthly remittances amount to US$3 billion ad their annual remittances total US$36 billion,” the statement says.    

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court noted in its sentence imposed on Jamoliddin Rasoulov that “he, under the guise of employment, took to Saudi Arabia Tajikistanis, in particular, women, who later found themselves in the position of slaves.”

Ms. Zuhro Muborovoa, the defense lawyer of victims, told Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, “More than 20 Tajik women sent by “Jamol-2012” Company to Saudi Arabia for labor migration stated that “they were forced to do forced labor in the homes of local Arabs in breach of contract, and without payment of wages.   

In 2017, the Prosecutor-General’s office instituted criminal proceedings against heads of three Tajik employment agencies, namely “Jamol-2012”, “Imon-2015” and “Abdulkarim”, under the provisions of Article 130 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code – human trafficking and document forgery.  

Saudi Arabia is a relatively new labor migration destination for Tajiks and there are no official estimates about the number of Tajik nationals currently working in the Kingdom.

Radio Ozodi reported on June 3, 2017 that Tajikistan in 2008 rejected an offer by Saudi employment agencies to provide work visas and employment opportunities for 300 male drivers as well as 200 positions for domestic workers to Tajik women under 25. Tajikistan's then-employment minister, Shukurjon Zuhurov, turned down the offer, criticizing the age requirement by the Saudi agencies.

Tajikistan does not have a bilateral agreement on job quotas with Saudi authorities.  Most Tajik labor migrants in Saudi Arabia have gone there through private agencies.

According to data from the Interior Ministry, 52 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Tajikistan over the first six months of this year.