There are an estimated 4,000 people living in modern slavery in Qatar (GSI 2018). Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labour and, to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution. Men and women from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and other countries voluntarily migrate to Qatar as unskilled laborers and domestic workers, often paying illegal and exorbitant fees to unscrupulous recruiters in the labour-sending countries, thereby increasing their vulnerability to debt bondage. Some workers subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, to include restricted movement, payment withholding, passport confiscation, exit permit retention, and threats of deportation or abuse. Individuals in Qatar sell visas to migrants and occasionally demand regular payments, enabling migrant workers to work illegally and without legal recourse against their respective sponsors, although reportedly this trend is on the decline.
Before AS left her home country she spoke to her employer directly - a friend of a woman who was employing a friend of AS in Qatar - who promised her payment of 800 riyals [US$220] a month and told her she would be given days off. But when she arrived her employer told her that she would only earn 730 riyals [US$200] a month.
I work really long hours. I wake up at 05:00 and start working, and I continue until 23:30 or midnight. At night I have to do the ironing. I don’t get any off days, even though she promised me off days. She says it’s an off day when I stay in the house with the kids on Friday.
I want to go back [home]. I’m really not happy here... I have a three-year contract, and have no way to get the money to go back. I don’t have a written contract, just a verbal contract. She has my residence card and my passport. The people at the airport gave it to her; I don’t have any access to it
Narrative provided by Amnesty International