U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Oman

Oman (Tier 3)

Oman is a destination and transit country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia, most of whom migrate willingly as low-skilled workers or domestic servants. Some of them subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude, such as withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without food or rest, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Oman may also be a destination country for women from People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Morocco, and Eastern Europe for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Oman does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Oman did not report any law enforcement efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenses this year, including involuntary servitude or trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The government also continues to lack victim protection services or a systematic procedure to identify victims of trafficking from among vulnerable populations, such as illegal migrants and women arrested for prostitution. Oman should significantly increase prosecutions of trafficking crimes, institute a formal victim identification and referral mechanism, and cease deporting possible victims of trafficking.


Oman did not report any progress in prosecuting or punishing trafficking offenses over the last year. Although Oman does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, it prohibits slavery under Article 260-261 of its penal code and coerced prostitution through Article 220. Prescribed punishment for both crimes are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes. In July 2006, the Sultan issued Royal Decree 74 prohibiting forced labor and increasing the applicable penalties , but those penalties – up to one month in prison or fines – are not sufficiently stringent to deter this serious offense. In November 2006, the Ministry of Manpower issued a legally-enforceable circular prohibiting employers from withholidng workers' passports; the circular does not specify penalties for non-compliance, and the practice continues to be widespread. The government did not report any prosecutions for trafficking offenses under these laws in the last year and has taken no active measures to investigate trafficking in persons offenses. Oman should significantly increase criminal investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenses. The government should also follow through with its plans to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking, and assigns penalties both sufficiently stringent to deter the offense and reflective of the heinous nature of the crime.


During the reporting period, Oman made no significant efforts to improve protections or services for victims of trafficking. The government continues to lack a systematic procedure to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as illegal migrants and women arrested for prostitution. In May and June 2006, the government conducted sweeps to find, detain and deport illegal migrant workers; Omani authorities did not, however, systematically identify trafficking victims from among the group of deportees. As a result, victims may have been detained and deported without adequate protection. Oman does not offer foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. The government reports that it encourages victims to assist in investigations, but authorities often have not investigated cases of foreign workers who have escaped exploitative conditions and may have returned them to their abusive employers or recruiting agencies.


Oman made insufficient efforts to prevent trafficking in persons this year. Oman's military and police continued to monitor Oman's borders to prevent illegal entry and human smuggling. The government also developed, in partnership with the Indian embassy, a pamphlet that will inform Indian workers of their rights and resources; as of the writing of this report, however, these pamphlets have not been distributed.


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