'Slavery was never abolished': Photo of migrant worker causes outrage

Pictures of a migrant worker being used as a human hand sanitiser stand amid the coronavirus crisis has sparked outrage online, with people drawing comparisons to slavery.

A man who has only been identified as a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, was photographed dressed in a box labelled ‘Hand Sanitiser’ with a dispenser stuck to it.

The pictures were taken in the lobby of oil company, Saudi Aramco’s building and the pictures sparked outrage online.

“Slavery was never abolished here,” one person tweeted, sharing the photos.

“Just repackaged.”

However, not everyone on social media agreed in labelling the gig as ‘slavery’, and compared it to human billboards, which are used throughout the world to promote a variety of goods and services.

Images of a man dispensing hand sanitiser in the lobby of an oil company's building has sparked outrage. Source: Twitter/HishamFageeh

The photos were controversial given the spread of the coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

There have been more than 40 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Saudi Arabia, with Arab News reporting the first infected patient has recovered and has been discharged.

Many on social media were concerned about the photos

“Also can we talk about how dangerous this is?” someone added on Twitter.

“So many people can come in contact with him!! With the coronavirus spreading like wildfire we need to lessen human contact!”

The pictures were widely condemned and London-based think tank, ImpACT International used the images to highlight a “lack of respect for human dignity and a failure to protect human rights”.

The Saudi-based oil company is the most valuable company in the world, worth $1.7 trillion.

Saudi Aramco did respond to the photos expressing the “strong dissatisfaction with this abusive behaviour”.

“The company immediately stopped this act and took drastic measures to prevent it from happening again,” the company tweeted.

“The company emphasises its firm against compromising its values based on respect and adherence to ethics and conduct.”

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