U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Oman
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Oman, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8a616.html [accessed 27 December 2014]|
Oman (Tier 2 Watch List)
Oman is a destination country for men and women primarily from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India who migrate willingly, but may subsequently become victims of trafficking when subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers. There have been occasional reports from foreign entities that expatriate children engaged in camel racing may transit or reside in Omani territory.
The Government of Oman does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Oman is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of a lack of evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons over the last year. The government does not have a national coordinator to oversee anti trafficking efforts, although it has formed an inter-agency legal committee to review language for new trafficking in persons legislation. Oman did not develop a national plan of action to combat trafficking. Over the last year, Oman did not prosecute any trafficking cases and it failed to conduct anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns. The government lacks an adequate screening procedure to differentiate trafficking victims from the large number of foreigners it deports annually, but it has requested international assistance in developing a comprehensive screening program. Oman should make serious efforts to coordinate a national anti-trafficking policy that includes increased prosecutions, systematic screening and protection of trafficking victims, and a concerted public awareness campaign to prevent trafficking in persons.
The Government of Oman failed to improve its prosecution record over the last year, despite possible instances of trafficking in persons. Although Oman lacks a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, it has other criminal laws that can be used to prosecute trafficking crimes, including sections of its penal code assigning penalties of five to 15 years' imprisonment for slavery. Nonetheless, the Omani government did not report any prosecutions in the last 12 months and has taken no active measures to investigate trafficking in persons. The Ministry of Manpower is also tasked with investigating any reports of labor abuse, though it lacks authority to file criminal charges for prosecution and has not been proactive in investigating trafficking in persons. All persons who serve as camel jockeys are now required to register in person with the Omani Camel Racing Federation and submit a passport, photographs, and a birth certificate showing them to be at least 15 years of age.
During the reporting period, the Omani government did not improve its minimal efforts to provide protection to expatriate workers who may fall victim to involuntary servitude. Foreigners illegally in Oman are housed in detention facilities and immigration officials have no screening procedure to distinguish illegal migrants from trafficking victims. The government has sought assistance to learn about techniques of processing illegal immigrants, including screening trafficking victims. Although the government pays for illegal migrants' repatriation, it has not established a system of protective services for victims of trafficking. Rather, it relies primarily on foreign embassies and charitable groups to tend to foreign nationals requiring assistance. The embassies of the Philippines and Sri Lanka, for instance, manage halfway houses for domestic workers. No formal referral mechanism exists to transfer potential trafficking victims to such organizations. The Government of Oman should develop a comprehensive screening procedure and adequate protection services such as shelter and medical care, or establish a referral system to connect trafficking victims with NGOs providing such assistance.
While the Government of Oman does not have a formal trafficking prevention program, Oman's military and police took action to patrol the borders to prevent illegal entry into the country in the last year. The government has invested resources to improve monitoring of the maritime and land borders with modern patrol vessels, aircraft, and sensor equipment. As a preventive measure, Oman introduced special visa regimes applicable to certain countries to thwart the international sex trade. Oman has not conducted any anti-trafficking public information campaigns to raise general awareness about trafficking in persons or specific rights of migrant workers.