The Global Slavery Index has estimated that there are almost 3 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Oman is a transit and destination country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, most of whom migrate willingly as domestic servants or low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture and service sectors. Trafficked persons subsequently experience conditions of modern slavery such as the confiscation of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without rest and physical or sexual abuse.
Latika C. migrated because of family debt to the UAE for domestic work in October 2014. There, an agent took her to a recruitment agency in Al Ain. Shortly after, an Omani man hired her, and took her to Oman for domestic work. Her employers did not pay her salary for 5 months, beat her when she asked to be paid, confiscated her passport, and made her work 15 hours a day with no rest or day off. They falsely accused her of a crime after she asked for her money.
My husband is paralyzed. I had to pay $10,000 in Bangladesh for his operation. We fell into debt because of this and so I decided to travel.
I asked for my money and they beat me, it created a storm. They beat me for asking for it. Madam said, ‘Tomorrow, we will make a case against you.’
[The police then arrested her after her employers accused her of theft, they returned her to her employer after they cleared her of the theft allegation]
He [her employer] cut my hair and burned my feet with hot water.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch