MUSCAT — The Royal Oman Police (ROP) busted a human trafficking gang in the city of Salalah recently. Salalah Police Station received a tip-off stating that four men of an Asian nationality were running an apartment which the reporter suspected as being used for prostitution. The report, addressed to Salalah Police, stated that a number of Asian women were staying in the suspicious residence in New Salalah quarter and that men were seen frequenting the house.
After investigation and co-ordination with the Public Prosecution Department in Salalah, the police raided that hive and arrested the suspects. The arrested group included seven Asian women and an unspecified number of African women. The suspects were transferred to Public Prosecution authority in preparation for trial before the respective court.
Meanwhile, the police corps in Muscat, Al Khodh and Izki, in co-operation with the Special Task Police force, arrested 21 Asian men on charges of holding captive an Asian man (which ROP identified by the initials R Sh B). The victim was abducted and taken by force to a hiding place in the Wilayat of Izki in the Dhakhiliyah Governorate.
The first report on the abduction was filed to Al Khoudh Police Station by a colleague of the victim who reported that the man was manhandled and taken by a group of men to an unknown destination. The police squad was able to free the victim who was found later in the Wilayat of Izki. The suspects, once faced by the evidence of their involvement in the crime, confessed to the charges. The suspects said they abducted the man and restricted his liberty because he failed to pay them sums of money claimed by them.
In a similar case, the ROP raided a house in the Wilayat of Al Khabourah, Governorate of South Batinah, where a group of five Asian men held captive a fellow citizen whom they abducted in Muscat. This incident was also reported to Al Khoudh Police Station by the employer of the victim who told the ROP that the man was taken by force to an unknown destination by a group of Asian men. The ROP said that the victim was abducted in pursuit of claimed cash. The suspects were transferred to the Public Prosecution Department in preparation for trial.
Although human trafficking differs in form from one country to another according to the conditions of each country, trafficking of persons affects the exporting, destination and transit countries. Oman, with its geographical position is a transit country. Efforts to prevent trafficking in Oman are aimed, with consideration to the human rights, to eliminate the practice or at least mitigate its bad effects on the society and individuals.
Oman is aware of the bad consequences to the victims of trafficking including sexual exploitation, forced labour, transfer of human organs, trafficking of children, employment conditional on repayment of debts, and other practices listed as trafficking of persons.
Therefore the crime of trafficking of persons is not only violation to the Anti-trafficking Law, but also to the principles of the Islamic Sharia law, the State Basic Law, Oman Penal Law, Labour Law, practices and traditions of the Omani society, and to many international agreements between the Sultanate and international organisations including the International Agreement on Transnational Crime, the United Nation’s Anti-drug Agreement, and other relevant international and bilateral agreements.
Although crimes of human trafficking are limited in Oman due to the fact that it is a transit country, authorities concerned spare no effort to combat these crimes by laws, rules, procedures, international co-operation and with consideration to international agreements.
Therefore, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman is committed to work with others at all levels against trafficking.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion.
The Council of Europe states, “People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion. Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction.
Exploitation includes forcing people into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery, or practices similar to slavery and servitude.