Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 11:06 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Qatar, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d85f2a.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Qatar (Tier 3)

Qatar is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation and young boys trafficked for the purpose of exploitation as camel jockeys. Women and men who work as domestic servants, some of whom fall victim to involuntary servitude, come largely from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Male laborers, some of whom become trafficking victims, come from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and Syria. Children trafficked to Qatar for exploitation as camel jockeys come primarily from South Asia and Sudan. Some foreign workers suffer conditions of exploitation – such as excessive hours, late or nonpayment of wages, physical and sexual abuse, and withholding of passports – that constitute involuntary servitude, a severe form of trafficking. Child camel jockeys are overworked, malnourished, and physically abused. Some have been thrown from the camels they rode and suffered serious neurological damages. Most no longer remember where they came from.

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. During the rating period, the government failed to show evidence of significant efforts to combat identified severe forms of trafficking on the three fronts of prosecution, protection, and prevention. A 2003 National Action Plan remains unimplemented. The Government of Qatar does not collect statistics on persons trafficked into the country, making it difficult to assess its efforts to combat the problem. According to official diplomatic sources and NGOs, there have been no rescues of the estimated 75-250 child camel jockeys, nor have there been any prosecutions of the traffickers behind the trafficking of camel jockeys. Some government officials own the camels participating in the races in which young boys are used as camel jockeys. The government provides no shelter for trafficking victims; instead, it detains and punishes trafficking victims for immigration violations. The government needs to enact and enforce a comprehensive trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking and provides for protection of trafficking victims. The government should institute a formal system to identify, care for, and repatriate these victims, including domestic workers and child camel jockeys. The government should also take much stronger steps to investigate, prosecute, and convict those responsible for trafficking crimes.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Government of Qatar took negligible steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish traffickers. There is no law banning the trafficking and exploitation of children as camel jockeys. Although other laws, such as the criminal law that makes employment of children under age 16 illegal, could be used to prosecute trafficking-related crimes, Qatar has not used them effectively. The Government of Qatar handled two criminal cases against trafficking in 2004. In the first case, an Indonesian housemaid was beaten by her sponsors; the sponsors admitted guilt and are now in detention while the case remains under investigation. In the second case, a Qatari employer was convicted of burning an Indian housemaid to death, sentenced to three years' imprisonment, and fined the equivalent of $17 – inadequate penalties for a serious trafficking-related crime. Qatar's anti-trafficking Implementation Committee reportedly sponsored training for judges on prosecution of trafficking-related offenses.

Protection

The Government of Qatar provides minimal protection to victims of trafficking. There are no shelters to help victims. The government incarcerates runaway foreign trafficking victims at its detention facilities and attempts to resolve labor-related disputes through mediation. In cases where abuses are proven, the government allows victims to change employers. However, no measure is taken to investigate, prosecute, and punish physical and sexual abuse of victims. In one instance, a Philippine housemaid was arrested while filing a complaint against her employer for non-payment of five years of wages, after the employer charged that she had absconded and was working for another employer.

Prevention

In 2004, the Government of Qatar did little to prevent trafficking and trafficking-related offenses. The government cooperated with the quasi-independent National Human Rights Committee and the Qatari Foundation for Women and Children Protection (QFWCP), which did some work to promote the rights of victims. In 2003, the government established a National Plan to address trafficking in persons, including increasing public awareness of trafficking, providing information on trafficking at national entry points, establishing an effective hotline for filing complaints, and ending the camel jockey problem. The plan also called for the training of judges on trafficking issues; the government held a workshop to that end. Most elements of the plan, however, have not been implemented. For example, the position of prosecutor for trafficking issues was created, but no appointment was made. The QFWCP advertised through local papers the establishment of a hotline for filing complaints; however, reports indicate that calls to the hotline are not answered.

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