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2014 (Narrative Date)

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.

‘Analyn', a 46-year-old woman from the Philippines, reported her rape to the police, which resulted in a charge of “illicit relations”, sometimes called a “love crime”, applied to people accused of having consensual sexual relations outside marriage. In December 2013, Analyn was sentenced to a year in prison

I slept in the room outside, it is a storage room. It’s like they took things outside of it and put like a small double bed enough for two persons inside. There was no cabinet. All my things were in my bag… A man one day came into my room from outside of the house. He was a worker in the house next door. They were renovating the house to three storeys. There were 11 or 12 workers. He noticed that I was by myself in the house. He stood at the door of the room and he said, “don’t be afraid, don’t worry, I like you.” I said, “go out and we can talk”. But he forced his way inside. I didn’t want to look like I am afraid. I had to be brave to convince him so that he doesn’t do anything. He came closer and I had to go back but there is no door to go out. The door is behind him. The only thing behind me is the bathroom.

I said ‘don’t do anything to me’. He said ‘if you will fight me, if you tell anybody, no one will believe you… I have done this before with another khadima [maid]’. He grabbed one of my arms and then grabbed my breast. I thought he would kill me. I asked him, “don’t kill me”. He said, ‘even if you tell madam, no one will believe you.’ I started crying a lot. I felt something hard in his pocket and I thought maybe it is a knife. I thought in my mind if he does something then I can complain after. He will hurt me but maybe I won’t die if I don’t fight. He was a big man. After he did it. After he raped me. He left. I went and washed myself. And I pray – asking for guidance. I didn't know the phone number for madam or sir. I had a mobile. But only because I was warned by others that I should keep a mobile. So I called the agency and told them what happened and asked them what do I do? They said to call 999. So I did. After one hour they came. But they couldn’t come inside because the doors are locked in the house. The doors are always locked. Police told me to go out from the window. I told them what happened. After my employer came I also told them what happened. The police asked me: ‘do you know this man?’ I said I will only know if I see his face again. Five workers in the house next door ran when the police went there. I think they must have known what happened. The man was not there. The police catch the five men and they ask me, ‘which one?’ I said, ‘not any of these five.’ Then they bring the five men to jail temporarily for investigation. In the afternoon, madam says go to capital police station to make a statement. So I went and they did a medical check… They found a number of this man in my mobile. I had surrendered my mobile to them. But the other khadima [maid] used the mobile too... It was three [police] men and one woman who interviewed me in a room downstairs. But I was shaking. I had had no food or water… A CID person has asked me, ‘how are you?’ I asked for food and water. Then they gave me a small bottle of water and potato chips. They could see how hungry I was and drinking water with a big thirst. I took a paracetamol because I had a headache from all this and not eating. Then in the morning at 07:00 or 08:00 they took me to the second floor. It was one man and one woman from CID for another statement. They said, ‘this man is your boyfriend – yes or no?’ I say to them, ‘if he is my boyfriend – why should I complain?’. They said to me: ‘don’t reply in English, talk in Arabic only’. I say I can only understand few words. They said to me, ‘you are a liar – talk Arabic’. The man he said ‘if you do not talk Arabic then I will hit you with this’ and he raised a hole puncher. They asked questions in Arabic and sometimes in English. One of them told me that they find the Syrian man that night [the first night after this happened], at first he denied that he did anything but later he said that, ‘yes I go to her room’, he said that I invited him into my room in his statement. The police and my employer believe him. I stayed in jail for four months. After I finished two months in jail I asked a policewoman, ‘why am I still here? I am a rape victim.’ She checked my file and said, ‘you are not a rape victim, you are a love case and trespassing [against the law].

Narrative provided by Amnesty International