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.
Amani W. worked in Oman from 2014 to 2017. She was forced to work long hours with no rest. Amani tried to escape after 6 months but was caught by the police who returned her to her employer. When her contract was finally up she asked to go home, however was taken to hospital where her employers renewed her visa.
[Amani fled her employer after six months in Oman but the police caught her. She said she explained that her employer forced her to work 14-hour days with no days off, and did not allow her to rest when she fell ill. But the police arrested her and called her employer who came a week later]
The employer told the police “she owes me 700 rials” ($1,818). They agreed at the police station that my employer will find another employer for me, so he could get back his money
[after completing her two-year contract in Oman she asked to go home]
They tricked me. They said, “Okay, let’s go to hospital,” and I thought this was for a card to leave. But they took the tests for the renewal. I realized that they had renewed the visa after we were coming back home. They said, “You are not going, you are going to stay for the rest of your life.” I had no choice but to work and bear them.
We go there because there are no jobs. We go there and we get mistreated.
We tolerate it. Then we come back and have no jobs. We forget about what happened and we want to go again.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch