|06DOHA303||2006-02-27 12:58:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Doha|
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UNCLAS DOHA 000303
1. (U) Sensitive But Unclassified--entire report.
2. (U) Embassy Point of Contact is Political Officer, Farah
Chery-Medor. Tel. 974-488-4101 ext. 6453. Fax 974 488-4163.
One FS-04 officer spent 34 hours in the preparation of this
3. (U) Following is post's sixth annual Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Report. Answers are keyed to reftel questions.
4. (SBU) Section 21.A. Men and women have been trafficked
into situations of coerced labor in Qatar. There are no firm
estimates of the total numbers of men and women trafficked
into the country. Sources of information on trafficking in
persons include other diplomatic missions, government
officials, commercial contacts and contacts at
quasi-independent NGOs. While the reliability of sources
cannot always be ascertained, cross-referencing information
among various sources helps to promote accuracy in
5. (SBU) Section 21.B. Legislation guiding the sponsorship
of expatriate laborers has created conditions that in many
cases lead to situations constituting forced labor or
slavery. Expatriate laborers are not allowed to leave the
country without a signed exit permit or to change employment
without a written release from their sponsor. The sponsors
have also been known to withhold the passports of the
workers. The dependence of foreign laborers on their employer
for residency rights, plus the inability to change employment
or travel, leaves them vulnerable to abuse. Some sponsors
have used this power against their workers. They have
withheld their consent to force foreign employees to work for
longer periods to avoid having to pay a salary owed to the
worker and to extract money from the laborer. Some workers
ended up in Qatar's deportation center due to their
employer's refusing to pay back wages, withholding their
passports, or failing to renew their work visas. Nepalese
officials reported that 367 Nepalese workers are being held
at the deportation center and have been awaiting repatriation
for several months. Law enforcement officials apprehended the
workers because they had expired work visas. The country also
was a destination for women from East Asia, South Asia, and
Africa who come to the country to work as domestic servants.
Some report that they have been forced into domestic
servitude and sexual exploitation. They were also the victims
of overwork, physical abuse, nonpayment or late payment of
wages. The embassies of the Philippines and Indonesia
received approximately 700 complaints from housemaids
alleging mistreatment by their employers during the year.
Complaints included sexual harassment, physical torture or
torment, overwork, imprisonment, and maltreatment. Abused
domestic servants usually did not press charges for fear of
losing their jobs. According to Indonesian officials, a total
of 553 Indonesian housemaids ran away from their sponsors
during the year.
6. (SBU) Section 21.B. Continued. Since the last TIP Report,
there has been significant progress in government efforts at
addressing trafficking in persons. The government of Qatar
began implementing the broad recommendations contained in the
anti-trafficking natonal action plan. In July 2005, the
government enacted a law banning the use of camel jockeys
under the age of 18. The GOQ repatriated approximately 200
Sudanese underage camel jockeys and established a shelter for
TIP victims. A human rights department was established in the
Ministry of Interior to receive and process victims of human
rights abuses and trafficking in persons. The director of the
human rights department was named National Coordinator for
TIP issues. Qatar also opened a shelter that can accommodate
up to 42 male, female and child trafficking victims and has
made operational three hotlines for migrant workers in
Arabic, English and Urdu. In January 2006, a new national TIP
coordinator was appointed. The new coordinator will have an
office as the newly established shelter for trafficking
victims. The new coordinator has established a working group
to follow-up on implementation of the camel jockey law. In
February 2006, the group visited the racing track and
confirmed that no children were working there as camel
7. (SBU) Section 21.C. There are no financial limitations on
the government's ability to address TIP. With regard to the
situation of domestic workers, there appears to be a
cultural-based resistance against what is deemed as
interfering in a private issue concerning matters of the home
as well as an overall ignorance of the concept of trafficking
8. (SBU) Section 21.D. Although the government has identified
various agencies to implement anti-trafficking reforms, it
does not systematically monitor its anti-trafficking efforts
nor does it make available its assessments of these
9. (SBU) Section 22.A. The government acknowledged that the
use of underage camel jockeys was a trafficking problem.
However, it does not acknowledge the problems experienced by
domestic workers are a trafficking issue. Officials
characterize situations of exploitation or coerced labor as
minor labor disputes falling under the purview of the labor
10. (SBU) Section 22.B. Officials from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Civil
Service and Housing (Labor Department), Supreme Judicial
Council, General Health Authority, General Prosecution,
National Human Rights Committee, the Qatar Foundation for
Women and Children Protection and the Supreme Council for
Family Affairs are all involved in anti-trafficking efforts.
As of January 2006, the Supreme Council for Family Affairs
has the lead in anti-trafficking efforts.
11. (SBU) Section 22.C. In September 2005, the national TIP
committee held a press conference to announce the
establishment of the shelter for trafficking victims.
Announcements about the shelter were also made on a weekly
television program and in newspaper articles.
12. (SBU) Section 22.D. There are no other known
13. (SBU) Section 22.F. The government is cooperating with
quasi-independent organizations such as the National Human
Rights Committee and the Qatar Foundation for Women and
Children Protection on anti-trafficking efforts. There are no
independent civil society or non-governmental organizations
(national or international) active in anti-trafficking
14. (SBU) Section 22.G. The government monitors its land
border but is not able comprehensively to monitor its
extensive shoreline. It monitors immigration and emigration
patterns for evidence of trafficking. It previously
strengthened visa regulations as a result of shifts in
immigration patterns showing evidence of probable
15. (SBU) Section 22.H. In July, a human rights department
was established in the Ministry of Interior to receive and
process victims of human rights abuses and trafficking in
persons. The director of the department was named as the
national coordinator for trafficking problems. In January
2006, a new national TIP coordinator was appointed to replace
the director from the Ministry of Interior. The Supreme
Council for Family Affairs is currently the lead organization
for coordination and communication between various internal
agencies. The government does not have a public corruption
16. (SBU) Section 22.J. The government has a national plan
of action to address trafficking in persons. Representatives
from the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Supreme Judicial Council, Ministry of
Interior, Ministry of Civil Service and Housing (Labor
Department), General Prosecutor, General Health Authority,
and the Qatar Foundation for Women and Children Protection
were involved in developing the plan of action.
Representatives from the National Human Rights Committee, a
quasi-independent human rights organization, were involved in
this process as well. The government has not disseminated the
17. (SBU) Section 23.A. Qatar does not have a law
specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. However, on
July 28, 2005, Law No. 22, banning the transport, employment,
training, and involvement of children under the age of
eighteen in camel races, came into force. According to
Article 4, anyone who violates the law faces three to ten
years' imprisonment and a fine ranging between $13,000 and
$55,000. In addition to this law, traffickers can also be
prosecuted under the Penalty Law of 2004, which bans forced
or coerced labor. Those caught breaking the law may receive
six months imprisonment or a fine of approximately $825. In
cases involving the employment of minors, the punishment is
three years imprisonment or a fine of approximately $2,700.
Also, Articles 318-322 of the Criminal Law address crimes
that violate human liberty and sanctity. Specifically,
Article 318 prohibits the abduction, seizure or deprivation
of an individual's liberty, and Article 322 prohibits forced
labor. In 2002, the government also passed a money laundering
law (Article 2) that specifically defines as a money
laundering crime the handling of money related to trafficking
of women and children. Although the new labor law enacted in
January 2005 expands some worker rights, the new law does not
extend to domestic workers. It is not clear if these laws are
being used to prosecute trafficking cases. If fully
implemented, however, these laws would be adequate to cover
the full scope of trafficking-in-persons.
18. (SBU) Section 23.B. The penalty for crimes that violate
human liberty and sanctity is imprisonment of not more than
ten years. Pimping is punishable by imprisonment of not more
than ten years. Forced labor is punishable by imprisonment of
not more than six months and a fine not to exceed $824, or
both. Abduction for the purpose of forced labor is punishable
by imprisonment of not more than seven years.
19. (SBU) Section 23.C. The penalty for rape or forcible
sexual assault is imprisonment. The penalty for sexual
exploitation is imprisonment and carries with it a minimum
sentence of five years and a maximum of fifteen years. Cases
involving children carry an automatic fifteen-year sentence.
20. (SBU) Section 23.D. Under the Criminal Law, articles
294-299, prostitution is illegal. However, it is not
considered a widespread problem. Government officials are
currently prosecuting two cases.
21. (SBU) Section 23.E. It is not clear if the government
prosecuted any trafficking cases this year. No information
22. (SBU) Section 23.F. With regard to laborers and domestic
workers, individual employees and companies are complicit in
the trafficking in that they knowingly place these workers
into situations of coerced labor.
23. (SBU) Section 23.G. The Qatari Coast Guard conducts
preliminary investigations of illegal immigration for
possible human exploitation and can refer cases to the
Criminal Investigation and Evidence Division for follow-up if
needed. Passport and Immigration investigates cases of visa
fraud for signs of organized trafficking. Plainclothes police
officers monitor local hotels for signs of prostitution.
Suspected prostitutes are investigated for links to local
sponsors before arrest and deportation.
24. (SBU) Section 23.H. The government has not yet provided
any specialized training for government officials in how to
investigate and prosecute incidences of trafficking. However,
government officials at the Ministry of Interior have agreed
to participate in the International Criminal Investigative
Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), a USDOJ program aimed
at training officials in addressing and preventing Qatar's
25. (SBU) Section 23.I. The government is not known to
cooperate with other governments in the investigation and
prosecution of trafficking cases. However, it coordinated
with the Embassy of Sudan in the repatriation of the young
Sudanese boys employed as camel jockeys. Also, the government
shares information with other countries in the region on
trafficking patterns involving prostitution. It works with
labor attaches from South Asian countries to resolve cases of
labor contract disputes, abuse of domestic servants, and
workers present in Qatar without authorization.
26. (SBU) Section 23.J. It is not known whether the
government extradites persons who are charged with
trafficking in other countries.
27. (SBU) Section 23.K. Some government support for
trafficking is evinced in the enactment of legislation such
as the Sponsorship Law, which is authored by government
officials and which creates and facilitates TIP situations.
For example, the Sponsorship Law engenders situations of
bondage and servitude by prohibiting workers from leaving the
country or changing employment without the permission of
their current sponsor. Finally, the lack of enforcement of
criminal statutes and labor laws can be construed as official
toleration of TIP activities.
28. (SBU) Section 23.L. Unknown/Not applicable.
29. (SBU) Section 23.M. Not applicable.
30. (SBU) Section 23.N. The government ratified ILO
Convention 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate
action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor
on May 30, 2000. It has also ratified ILO Convention 29 on
Forced or Compulsory Labor on March 12, 1998 and has ratified
the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child
Pornography on December 14, 2001.
31. (SBU) Section 24.A. In September, the government opened
a shelter for trafficking victims to serve the needs of
abused domestic workers, other laborers and children. The
shelter is in a small housing compound and is comprised of
fully furnished three-bedroom villas, with two villas each
for men, women and children. Each villa can accommodate up to
seven people. The administrative building houses a health
clinic with a medical doctor working on site. The shelter is
under the management of the national trafficking in persons
coordinator. However, since its opening, only one woman has
stayed at the shelter. The shelter is not utilized because of
a lack of awareness of its existence and also because only
victims referred by certain organizations and agencies have
access to the shelter. The government has also provided
assistance to domestic workers who have suffered from abuse
in the form of payment of back wages and repatriation, and it
will facilitate change of employer rather than deportation in
cases where abuse has been proven.
32. (SBU) Section 24.B. The government is not known to
provide funding or other forms of support to foreign or
domestic NGOs for services to victims.
33. (SBU) Section 24.C. Possible victims of trafficking are
generally deported. They are placed in the deportation center
pending resolution of their cases. There are no private
34. (SBU) Section 24.D. The rights of laborers and domestic
workers are not respected. They are often treated as
criminals. Laborers are kept in the deportation center until
their case is resolved. Domestic workers are detained and
placed in the deportation center. After their case has been
resolved, they are deported. The length of detainment varies
greatly. A visit to the deportation center by embassy
officials found hundreds of workers detained and awaiting
deportation. Some housemaids had been at the center for six
months. Some victims are also fined if they are found to be
in violation of immigration or other laws.
35. (SBU) Section 24.E. The government encourages some
victims to assist in their own cases. Some victims can file
civil suits or seek legal action against the traffickers.
Some sponsors and employers have been known to threaten
victims in an attempt to keep them from seeking legal
redress. If a victim is a material witness in a court case
against the former employer, the victim is permitted to
obtain other employment or to leave the country. There is no
victim restitution program.
36. (SBU) Section 24.F. The government has a shelter for
trafficking victims; however, it remains unused. The shelter
has a health clinic and a social worker on the premises to
assist victims in rebuilding their lives.
37. (SBU) Section 24.G. The government does not provide
specialized training for government officials in recognizing
trafficking and in assisting trafficked victims.
38. (SBU) Section 24.H. Not applicable.
39. (SBU) Section 24.I. There are no international
organizations or NGOs that work with trafficked victims.