Embassies decide to act against human trafficking

Muscat - 

The embassies of Philippines, Sri Lanka and India have decided to take up the issue of human trafficking, mainly involving housemaids, with government agencies in Oman and the UAE.

“We currently have 37 Filipinas lodged in our workers' resource centre and 99 per cent of them were trafficked into the sultanate by Omani nationals after illegally paying manpower recruitment agencies on the border with Al Ain in UAE,” a senior labour welfare official in the Philippines Embassy in Oman said.

“These undocumented women were brought (into Oman) without no-objection certificates from our embassy here. Our ambassador has taken up this issue with the sultanate’s immigration authorities. We are also in the process of contacting recruitment agencies in the Philippines and the UAE to put an end to this illegal practice.”

However, Sri Lanka is yet to introduce the system of issuing no-objection certificates to housemaids wishing to come to Oman from neighbouring countries like the UAE.

“A few months ago, four cases of human trafficking were reported to the Sri Lankan

Embassy in Muscat. All the four women, who had come from the UAE, were subsequently deported. We want to curb this trend and take up the issue with concerned government bodies,” said a senior official in the labour welfare department of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Muscat.

Manjula, a senior executive at Abu Faisal Manpower Agency located on Oman’s border with Al Ain, said that many Omanis come here looking for housemaids. “A housemaid is selected following an interview and within a day, taken to Oman.” Manjula further said that employers are willing to pay up to RO1,050 for Indonesian housemaids and RO750 for Nepalese and Indians.

Two Indian women who had been trafficked into Oman in a similar manner, were deported in the first week of this month. They had been brought into the sultanate by two Omanis who had paid RO800 each for them to a manpower agency. Muscat Daily had reported their story on December 2 last year.

They were deported after social workers and NGOs came forward to repay RO800 to their respective employers, said G C Babu, a volunteer at Pravasi Helpline, an organisation that looks after welfare of Indian expatriates in Oman.

Mohammed Ajmi, a former employee of Al Jarah Manpower in Dubai, said, “Housemaids who run away from their sponsors in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are sold to manpower agents on the border. Besides, runaway housemaids prefer coming to Oman as it is easier for them to leave for their country from the sultanate, compared to UAE.”

A senior official in Indian Embassy’s social welfare department said that the mission has brought this issue to the attention of the Indian government. “We have also intimated Omani authorities,” the official said.

muscat daily recycle