RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia announced tough new legal penalties for human trafficking on Monday after years of foreign criticism that it made little effort to stop abuses. The cabinet set punishments of up to 15 years in prison and a one million riyal (266,666 dollar) fine, the official SPA news agency reported. It included under the definition of trafficking holding a person under control for sexual abuse, forced labour, involuntary begging, slavery or slavery-like practices, and enforced organ removal or medical experimentation. The cabinet agreed that tougher penalties should apply where the offence was committed against a disabled person, a woman or spouse, or a child who was the victim of a parent or guardian. The Saudi government has been criticised for years for lacking anti-trafficking laws, despite frequent cases of alleged abuse particularly among the kingdoms seven to 10 million foreign workers, most of whom perform low-wage, low-skilled jobs. A US State Department report published this year gave the kingdom its lowest ranking, saying that often foreigners are recruited legally to work in the country but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, including restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and non-payment of wages. Women, primarily from Asian and African countries, are also believed to have been trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation, the report said. In addition, Saudi Arabia is a destination country for Nigerian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Chadian, and Sudanese children trafficked for involuntary servitude as forced beggars and street vendors. Critics have also charged that under the kingdoms conservative brand of Islamic sharia law, women and children can suffer abuse by male relatives that amounts to trafficking. Second Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said after the cabinet meeting that the new law embodies the principles of Islamic sharia law which prohibit attacks on the rights of another human being. It enables the kingdom to protect the rights of its citizens and residents under Islamic law, SPA quoted him as saying.