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.
KN began working in Qatar in June 2012 and initially received her salary, though it was less than the US$400 which she had been promised in the agreement she had signed in the Philippines.
The first month they paid me 750 riyals [US$206]. The second month, 900 riyals [US$247]. After that, 900 riyals [US$247] a month. I sent six months of salary home. [The wife of my employer] stopped paying me after six months. She didn’t pay me in December, January, and February. I told her I needed the money because my family had big problems.
My daughter died on 1 January [in the Philippines]. She was three years old. She needed to go to the hospital. Madam said she’d pay me the full amount after five months... I talked to Sir, I said, ‘sir, I need my salary.' On 1 March I told madam and sir that I wanted to go home. They said no.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International