This is the worst case of slavery and torture I have come across, the lawyer said.
Asma Al Qaradhaghi, the lawyer who represented the victims in the human trafficking case in Qatar, revealed harrowing details on the torture and enslavement of the victims.
“This is the worst case of slavery and torture I have come across. I was in shock as I learned the details of the case,” Al Qaradhaghi told Al Watan.
The case involved two Pakistani citizens who forcibly exploited and enslaved two female domestic workers, forcing them to work tirelessly without pay, as well as sexually assaulting them, all the while detaining them in a residence in Qatar.
When the victims were only eight and 10 years old, a wealthy defendant ‘bought’ the girls in Pakistan and enslaved them, forcing them to work for her without pay or mercy, according to Qaradhaghi.
“She took the girls to work for her and her family with the help of the second accused, who was one of her relatives,” Qaradhaghi said.
Years later, the victims were forcibly moved to a neighbouring country to work, then moved to Qatar after the defendants forged their papers.
After more than a year of severe physical and mental abuse, in addition to sexual harassment and exploitation, a person working in the same house as the victims noticed body injuries that resulted from violent torture.
The worker proceeded to comfort the victims and later persuaded them to inform the police, which is when the investigations began last year.
Soon after, an investigation was launched after the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking received a report which that revealed how people were committing acts related to human trafficking by exploiting employees and exposing them to various forms of torture and ill-treatment.
The victims were also often locked up for more than 15 days and tortured, in addition to experiencing severe sexual and verbal assault.
Authorities have since provided the victims with emergency healthcare and transferred them to accommodation in the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre (AMAN) to recover.
After collecting evidence, including a forensic report and statements from witnesses and the victims, the National Committee for Combatting Human Trafficking appointed a lawyer for the victims. The case then proceeded in the Qatari courts.
The Criminal Court of the Court of First Instance heard the case over 15 sessions, which involved witnesses and a forensic report showcasing the injuries and the tools used for torturing the victims, the lawyer said.
Earlier this week, the Criminal Court of the Court of First Instance sentenced the culprits accused of human trafficking in Qatar to 10 years in jail and fined them QR 200,000 each.
They were also ordered to compensate each of their victims an amount of one million Qatari Riyals. The two will serve their sentence in a Qatari jail, after which, the court ordered, they should be deported immediately.
“We tried to get the highest degree of punishment for the accused and succeeded,” the lawyer said.
The prosecution charged the culprits with violating Law No. 15 of 2011, a legislation aimed at combating human trafficking.
Yousuf Fakhroo, Minister of labour and the Chairman of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, also praised the court’s decision, saying that he hopes that it will act as a deterrent to human traffickers who believe that they can evade the country’s law.
The minister also emphasised that all measures have been taken to provide the necessary care and protection to the victims before, during and after the investigation.