Employing female cashiers is human trafficking: Saudi study

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Employing females as cashiers is a form of human trafficking like sexual exploitation, forced labor and organ trafficking, according to a recent study conducted in Saudi Arabia.

Objectifying women comes in different forms, such as exploitation in media, advertising, flight attendants, receptionists, and supermarket clerks or cashiers, argues the study, a graduate research paper at the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University.

The study’s author Mohammad al-Bogami cited several religious rulings by prominent Muslim scholars and imams forbidding the employment of women as cashiers due to the possibility of gender mixing. He describes this integration as a gateway for women to be tempted by men.

Bogami writes that Muslim scholars consider it human trafficking if the goal of hiring women is to use their looks to attract customers.

Human trafficking does not stop at people selling their bodies or parts of their bodies; it extends to any kind of slavery or sexual exploitation, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported Bogami as saying.

Saudi Arabia’s top clerics have challenged the government’s policy of expanding jobs for women, with a fatwa (religious edict) that they should not work as cashiers in supermarkets.

“It is necessary to keep away from places where men congregate. Women should look for decent work that does not make it possible for them to attract men or be attracted by men,” according to the fatwa.

The ruling came from the Committee on Scholarly Work and Ifta, the official issuer of fatwas, under the Council of Senior Scholars, the top authority for Islamic issues in the kingdom.

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