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

Oman (Tier 2)

Oman is a destination country for women and men who migrate legally and willingly from South Asia – primarily from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines – for work as domestic workers and laborers but are subsequently trafficked into conditions of involuntary servitude. Some of these workers suffer from physical and sexual abuse or withholding of wages or travel documents. Every year, thousands of Pakistanis infiltrate Oman's maritime border with Iran in search of jobs or to reach other destinations in the Gulf. According to a noted human rights activist, several dozen foreign children trafficked for the purpose of exploitation as camel jockeys were reportedly seen near the border with the United Arab Emirates.

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. Over the next year, the government should conduct an assessment of the smuggling and trafficking situation and develop an appropriate national plan of action to combat it. It should also consider appointing a national coordinator to articulate, direct, and oversee the government's overall anti-trafficking efforts, including the drafting and enactment of a comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, the training of law enforcement personnel to identify trafficking crimes, and the development of appropriate anti-trafficking protection and prevention programs.


The Government of Oman continues to actively interdict, apprehend, screen, and detain suspected illegal immigrants and human smugglers. Oman does not have an anti-trafficking law, but it has other criminal laws that can be used to prosecute trafficking crimes. During the reporting year, there were reports of physical abuse of domestic servants, some of whom may have been victims of involuntary servitude. According to Ministerial Decree 189 (Law on Domestic Labor, issued June 16, 2004), Article 8, an employee has the right to end his/her contract if he/she is abused by an employer. Pursuant to Article 10, salary disputes are settled by the Ministry of Manpower. The Ministry's Labor Welfare Board adjudicates cases filed by national and expatriate workers against employers. Employers guilty of contested wages are ordered to reimburse the worker's back wages.


The Government of Oman provides some protection to both illegal and legal expatriate workers who fall victim to involuntary servitude. It operates a 24-hour complaint hotline and mediates contract disputes, works with source country representatives to provide assistance to victims, and grants access to officials from source countries to visit deportation centers. However, the government does not have a systematic screening procedure for differentiating potential trafficking victims from the thousands of illegal immigrants it detains and deports every year. It should develop and deploy a more comprehensive screening procedure to ensure that any such victims are identified and provided with appropriate protection services, such as shelter, medical and psychological assistance, humane repatriation, and other essential services.

The Government of Oman has extended protections under its labor laws to its large domestic work force per Ministerial Decree 189. All foreign workers are protected under the labor law, though some may be reluctant to file complaints for fear of retribution from their employers. Workers are informed of their labor rights in pre-departure orientation briefings in their countries of origin. The government does not have a separate shelter for potential victims of trafficking. However, in addition to the food, shelter, and medical care provided at its deportation centers, the government works with source country embassies and charitable groups to tend to foreign nationals requiring repatriation and other forms of assistance. Oman should consider establishing a shelter for potential victims of trafficking.


The Government of Oman took some positive steps to prevent trafficking. It monitored its borders and immigration patterns, introduced special visa regimes applicable to certain countries to thwart possible trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and engaged other countries in the region and beyond on issues relating to trafficking and illegal immigration. Oman actively pursues avenues of international cooperation and has stepped up assistance and information sharing with source countries, including sending a team of Royal Oman Police to work with the anti-trafficking unit of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency. Oman should develop and launch broad public awareness campaigns highlighting the rights of domestic workers and other groups vulnerable to being trafficked.


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