U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7db28.html [accessed 24 September 2014]|
Qatar (Tier 2)
Qatar is a destination country for women who are put into situations of coerced labor, where they may endure physical abuse or other extreme working conditions. Victims come primarily from East Asia, South Asia, and Africa to work as domestic servants. They often have their passports withheld, contracts altered, and suffer non-payment of salaries. Qatar is also a destination country for boys trafficked from Sudan and to a lesser extent Pakistan and Bangladesh as camel jockeys.
The Government of Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government is strongest in preventing domestic servitude and protecting victims. The government needs to take additional steps to prevent the use of children in camel jockey races.
The government works actively with labor attaches from South Asian countries to resolve cases of labor contract disputes and cases involving the abuse of domestic servants. Strict controls on immigration and willingness to enforce labor contracts have for the most part prevented sex trafficking and forced labor. The government runs a 24-hour hotline staffed by the Ministry of Interior and Supreme Council for Family Affairs personnel to advise and assist women and children in abusive situations. The Camel Racing Association established a new minimum weight for jockeys to minimize the chances that children would be involved in these races. There are planned increases in minimum weight for the coming racing seasons. Banning children in the camel racing industry outright would be the most effective method of preventing children from being used as camel jockeys.
Qatari law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons. In addition, in 2002 the government passed a new money laundering law, in which Article 2 specifically defines the handling of money related to trafficking of women and children as a crime. Law enforcement agencies actively investigate allegations of trafficking. Last year two individuals were charged as traffickers; one was found guilty. The Qatari Labor Department charged 105 companies in court for non-payment of wages and maintains a "black list" of companies that have severely violated labor laws or abused their workers. The government strictly monitors its immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. Immigration officials refer suspect travel documents or birth certificates establishing family relationships to local embassies for verification. Governmental authorities and individual members of government do not facilitate, condone or act in an otherwise complicit manner in trafficking.
The government provides assistance to domestics who have suffered from abuse in the form of payment of back wages and repatriation. Runaway domestics are provided shelter by the government in deportation centers. The Qatari Labor Department is active in resolving labor disputes and in ensuring that employers meet contractual obligations. Disputes arise frequently, and the vast majority of problems are resolved through mediation. With the approval of the Ministry of Interior, sponsorship of employees who filed valid complaints of abuse by employers can be transferred without the current employer's agreement. Employers are required to repatriate workers at the end of their contracts, or earlier if either party wishes to terminate the contract with notice.