U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3d328.html [accessed 4 October 2015]|
Qatar (Tier 3)
Qatar is a destination for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and People's Republic of China (P. R. C. ) travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude. The most common forced labor offense is forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited. Other forced labor conditions in Qatar include instances of: bonded labor; job switching; visa swapping; visa selling; withholding of pay; charging for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports and travel documents and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; false charges; and physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Workers are generally forced to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited, and often suffer miserable working and living conditions. Nepalese men are reportedly recruited for work in Qatar as domestic servants, but are then coerced or forced into labor in Saudi Arabia as farm workers. Qatar is also a destination for women from P. R. C. , Indonesia, the Philippines, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, India, Africa, and Eastern Europe trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, but it is unknown how many are trafficked.
The Government of Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Qatar continues to detain and deport victims rather than providing them with protection. The government also failed to meaningfully increase prosecutions for trafficking. Workers who complained about working conditions or non-payment of wages were sometimes penalized and prosecuted under false charges in retaliation. Qatar should develop a credible law enforcement effort against trafficking, and should take steps to ensure that victims are not punished for acts related to being trafficked.
The Government of Qatar made insufficient progress in prosecuting trafficking offenses during the reporting period. Qatar does not prohibit all acts of trafficking, but it criminalizes slavery, forced labor, and forced prostitution under sections 321,322, and 297 of its Criminal Law, respectively. At the same time, provisions of the Sponsorship Law condone forced labor activities and slave-like conditions. The government banned the use of child camel jockeys in 2005. Qatar provided evidence of only two convictions in a trafficking case involving a domestic servant this year, despite reports that this practice is common; those convicted received five-year prison sentences. The government did not initiate prosecutions for any other trafficking crimes nor were any other persons convicted of trafficking offenses. A government committee trained police, prosecutors, judges, and legal educators on current anti-trafficking laws. Qatar should significantly improve its law enforcement response to trafficking crimes by increasing criminal prosecutions of trafficking offenses.
The Government of Qatar failed to adequately protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. It does not systematically attempt to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable people, such as foreign workers awaiting deportation and women arrested for prostitution, and as a result, victims are often punished and deported without being offered protection. The Government of Qatar also commonly fines and detains trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as immigration violations and running away from their sponsors, without determining the underlying causes. Some victims remain in the deportation centers for years pending resolution of their cases, permission from their sponsors to leave the country, or in retaliation for seeking to recover unpaid wages or requesting a new sponsor. The government removed restrictions on victims' access to the government shelter and widely publicized the existence of the shelter and hotlines. In only a small percentage of cases, however, did the government encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or offer victims alternatives to deportation to countries in which they may face retribution. The shelter accommodated only 20 trafficking-related victims this year.
Qatar's efforts to prevent trafficking in some areas improved over the reporting period. A committee conducted visits to camel racing tracks to ensure compliance with the government's ban on the use of child camel jockeys. Qatar also held a workshop for 42 recruitment agencies to raise awareness of trafficking. The National Office for Combating Trafficking in Persons led a government training seminar on legal, social and security dimensions of trafficking for police officers, Internal Security service officers, and others. Anti-trafficking training has been incorporated into the basic training curriculum for police officers. A media campaign highlighted sponsors' responsibilities, and resources available to victims. Qatar has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.