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To mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of Tse Tse Fly Middle East in the UAE, the arts and activism platform have launched their new project: This Is Kafala. Featuring an album of experimental music and sound art, and an online exhibition, This Is Kafala intends to draw attention to the kafala system of employment that is used by oppressive regimes in the Middle East. Under kafala (kafala is Arabic for sponsorship), migrants travelling from surrounding regions to work in these countries must surrender all their rights to their local sponsor. The extremes in exploitation that ensue are likened to modern-day slavery, with workers made to suffer unsafe working conditions, long working hours, squalid accommodation, confiscation of passports, low pay, physical and sexual abuse, and torture.
Available to download from Bandcamp, the This Is Kafala album features contributions from founder members of Tse Tse Fly Middle East, along with friends and extended family.
Tse Tse Fly Middle East are partnering with Migrant-Rights.org for the project, the non-profit organisation that advances rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East.
Everyone involved has given their time for free, and profits from the album will go to charities and NPOs that are working towards ending kafala. The entire project can be viewed on the Tse Tse Fly Middle East website.