Qatar’s Emir has signed off on the country’s first law against human trafficking, designed to protect vulnerable segments of the population, including women, children and migrant workers.
Under the law, those found guilty of kidnapping, child abuse and enslavement could face up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to QR300,000.
Earlier this year, the US State Department placed Qatar on a “watch list” for “not complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
A draft of the law has been floating around for at least six months, and lawyers have previously said that once it was implemented, it would also apply to those who mistreat maids, sexually harass them or force them to work for long hours without paying them.
The Peninsula reports:
Interestingly, the legislation also applies to people who forcibly take out physical organs of their human victims, as also to husbands who are found guilty of exploiting their wives…
The criminal courts will try the cases of human trafficking and will be empowered to coordinate with the judicial authorities of other countries in chasing down an alleged offender based on bilateral agreements between Qatar and the other country concerned…
The victim would not be held responsible for the crime in any way and if Qatar’s sponsorship or entry or residency rules have been flouted by her or him, he or she would not be held responsible for that.
When it comes to fighting human rights violations, this certainly seems like an encouraging step, if not in practice/enforcement, then at least in perception.