“The government demonstrated increasing efforts by investigating, prosecuting and convicting more suspected traffickers and setting up a specialised anti-trafficking prosecution unit. This is in addition to identifying more victims and providing them with robust care,” the report stated.
Donald Buechner, human trafficking professional in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), stated the quantity of instances in the sultanate is little. “We are working to move to Tier 1 and increasing our efforts to raise awareness among the public and are prosecuting human traffickers. We are also working on the procedures to alleviate human trafficking in Oman and to have standardised processes as per the standards of the rest of the world,” he told Muscat Daily.
On prostitution and sex trafficking, Buechner stated, “People must not solicit prostitutes since it can lead to human trafficking. The Royal Oman Police is performing a wonderful job in attempting to quit prostitution in Oman. So we are operating on numerous distinct elements to move to Tier 1.
“To get there, we need to increase public awareness for employers to understand that they cannot keep employee passports. They must follow the contract; they cannot renegotiate the contracts. Employers must know better than to abuse workers. The most common form of trafficking, I would say, is labour trafficking which is the hardest to detect as often times it is behind closed doors. So those workers can be vulnerable.”
According to the report, Oman has improved its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. “While the government improved investigations, prosecutions and convictions, its efforts to criminally prosecute forced labour crimes remained weak.
“Oman’s 2008 anti-trafficking law criminalised labour and sex trafficking and prescribed punishments of 3 to seven years imprisonment and a fine of among RO5,000 and RO100,000 for offences involving adult victims and seven to 15 years imprisonment and a minimum fine of RO10,000 for offences involving youngster victims,” the report stated.
On regardless of whether No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from employers would decrease human trafficking, Buechner stated, “I believe the removal of NOC letters will certainly take away some human trafficking since some workers really feel trapped with their sponsors.
“NOCs are always a big concern and I know some other countries in the Gulf region have recently moved away from the practice and it seems to be helping them in stopping some human trafficking.”
According to the US State Department report, the government reported investigating nine alleged human trafficking instances – six sex trafficking and 3 for forced labour – as compared to a single sex trafficking case and a single forced labour case investigated throughout the earlier reporting period.
Information Source: Muscat Daily