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.
Haya* travelled to Qatar for work but found herself trafficked into domestic service where she also experienced sexual abuse, beatings, and restrictions to her movement.
The agent told me that his own sister works as a recruitment agent in Qatar and that his sister will come to the airport to pick me. But instead of a woman, a man approached me, identified me and took me to the recruitment office. I was taken to the home of a family who asked me to work there as a maid. Four male maintenance workers were also living there. After three days, they all started abusing, beating and locking me in a bathroom for many hours. They took away my documents, including my contact list of phone numbers. At last, I was able to meet the lady agent, and told her about the sexual harassment, abusing, beating and other things happening to me at the workplace. She very shockingly replied, ‘what is wrong in sexually satisfying your male co-workers and the employer, feel that they are your husbands.’ I requested the lady agent to send me back to my country, but she started demanding me to pay €2,700 and if I can’t pay, I can’t go.
Narrative source Youth Underground, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking through youth education, awareness-raising and advocacy.
Original narrative can be found here: