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Imminent danger

Reham Sabeeha, a sociology

expert, agreed that the majority

of girls run away from home be-

cause something has made them

do it. They do not just wake up

one day and decide to run away.

Any home environment that

does not provide security and

warmth to girls or treats girls

cruelly will drive most girls,

who live in it, to escape, search-

ing for absolute freedom and a

better environment.

“The Ministry of Labor and

Social Development should form

committees of sociology and

psychology experts and assign

each committee to study the

cases of runaway girls in each

city that has reported such cases.

It is important that experts listen

carefully to the runaway girls in

order to put their finger on the

real causes in each cases,” she

explained.

Abdulmonem Al-Hussain,

a family counselor, warned

parents against ostracizing their

daughters and not opening up

their hearts to them and listening

to them.

“I cannot stress enough the

importance of dialogue and

holding conversations with one’s

daughter and making her feel

secure and reassured. I believe

some parents need counseling

courses explaining to them how

to deal with their teenage girls.

The teenage period is sensitive

and parents should know how to

embrace their daughter and mak-

ing her feel important,” he said.

Emotional vacuum

Dr. Ahmad Albo-Ali, a

mosque imam, said many par-

ents do not report their runaway

girls for fear that they would

be stigmatized by society. In

his opinion, the best way to en-

sure that one’s girl won’t think

about running away from home

one day is to instill in her mind

strong religious values at an

early age.

Parents should not let their

girl hang out with bad company

and should spend more time

with them and do various activi-

ties together.

Husa Al-Saad, a psycholo-

gist, blamed the influence of

Westernization and globalization

for this problem.

Some teenagers get influ-

enced by the unlimited free-

dom of the Western World and

attempt to rebel against the

environment they live in. Her

advice to parents is not to force

their sons and daughters to live

the same life they lived because

times and circumstances change.

2

Saudi Gazette, Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kingdom

Number of runaway girls on the rise

Saudi Gazette report

T

HE Ministry of Labor

and Social Develop-

ment said over 1,750

girls have run away

from their homes

and 67 percent of them were

non-Saudis. The teenagers ac-

counted for the largest percent-

age at 65 percent followed by

victims of domestic violence

at 35 percent, according to the

ministry’s statistics report. Jed-

dah and Makkah registered the

highest number of runaway girls

followed by Riyadh and Eastern

Province, Al-Riyadh daily re-

ported.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Yousef, a

former sociology professor at

Imam University, said many

studies blamed disintegrating

families and parental negligence

for the runaway cases. Some

girls went astray because their

parents neglected them and did

not take good care of them.

The National Society for

Human Rights (NSHR) received

last year over 2,000 complaints

from victims of domestic vio-

lence filed by young women.

When a girl lives with parents

who fight all the time and do

not pay attention to her, she will

eventually run away from this

life of discord and acrimony.

“Thanks to Allah the cases

are not that many but sociology

experts should study and analyze

these cases and identify the real

psychological reasons that drive

young women to run away. We

already know some of the com-

mon causes but we still need to

identify more in order to find

drastic solutions to the prob-

lem,” he stressed.

GROWING GULF

Large number of expatriate workers leading to demographic imbalance

By Ayedh Al-Turaisi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

A

UTHORITIES in

Gulf Cooperation

Council (GCC)

countries have

warned that the large

number of expatriate workers in

the region are causing imbalances

in the demographic structures of

member states and as a result, they

have called for measures to be

taken to rectify the issue.

Gulf countries have failed to

keep the number of recruited expa-

triate workers limited to a certain

percentage of the population even

though Gulf labor ministers agreed

that the percentage of expatri-

ate workers in any member state

should not exceed 20 percent. Sta-

tistical reports have shown that the

United Arab Emirates and Qatar

account for the largest number

of expatriate workers in the Gulf

region with 89 percent in both,

followed by Kuwait at 69 percent,

Bahrain at 52 percent, Oman at

46 percent and Saudi Arabia at 33

percent.

The presence of such a large

number of expatriates can con-

tribute to negative economic

practices such as the control of

expatriates over certain markets

and sectors, which can increase

unemployment among citizens

and lead to more money being

remitted by expatriate workers to

their home countries. Also, health

facilities and educational institu-

tions are often strained as they

are unable to deal with the large

number of people availing their

services.

Moreover, international labor

organizations will exercise addi-

tional pressure on Gulf countries

and accuse them of labor rights

violations and discrimination

against workers and may even

call on Gulf countries to natural-

ize certain nationalities. These are

great challenges that may give

such organizations opportuni-

ties to interfere in the cultural

and demographic issues of Gulf

countries.

Solutions

Economists have called for

introducing vocational training in

schools to better train nationals

so they can be more competitive

with expatriates in the job market.

Economist Abdullah Al-Assaf,

agreed that the large number of

expatriate workers is causing de-

mographic imbalances, many of

whom pose “dangers”.

“Gulf countries do have an

enormous number of expatriate

workers. We should all work to-

gether to ensure that each country

has a demographic balance and

reduce expatriates to a limited

number. There are around 20 mil-

lion expatriate workers in all Gulf

countries. Some of them pose dan-

gers,” he said while adding that the

majority of expatriate workers are

hard-working, loyal, honest and

dedicated to their jobs. However,

the few bad ones can have an in-

fluence on others.

“Expatriates can also strain

state budgets. After all, total remit-

tances of expatriates have exceed-

ed SR300 billion per annum in all

Gulf countries,” Al-Assaf added.

In 2016, expatriate work-

ers’ remittances in Saudi Arabia

reached SR152 billion, making the

Kingdom the second largest coun-

try for remittances in the Gulf.

Expatriates also control 80 percent

of jobs in the private sector in the

Kingdom; this percentage is higher

in Qatar and the UAE.

According to economist

Abdullah Al-Barrack, there is a

dire need for changing the way

Gulf youth view blue collar jobs.

“So much stigma is attached

to these jobs and this viewpoint

should be changed. Incorporating

vocational training and education

in school curricula is the only solu-

tion to changing the public’s views

of these jobs,” he said.