The issue I have with the report is the usual treatment that was meted out to the poor working girls, i.e. 6 months in prison followed by deportation.
I don’t know the specifics of the girls, but it is very, very often the case that such women are not being prostitutes because they like the work. In fact, such illegal brothels are usually staffed by women being forced to have sex. Against their will, and usually with regular violence and rape too. Many such women are effectively sex slaves, and typical victims of human trafficking. But the standard response here (and elsewhere in the Gulf) is to punish them even more. Another reason why Oman deserved Tier 3, if you ask me.
A significant side effect of such treatment is the women can’t even go to the authorities. In fact, being turned over to the ROP will be used as yet another threat against them. Its disgusting.
The press too, as usual, don’t follow up. Why not interview the girls? How many prostitutes were there? Who were their clients? How did they get into this business? Where was the brothel? And who was his Omani sponsor - aren't the sponsors of expats also held partially responsible for their crimes? (Plus, I imagine its a pretty full time job being a pimp and running a brothel. His sponsor didn't know? Yeah right...)
And how co-incidental that it happened right after the US State dept report… Fancy that!
Police raid brothelUnless you're a prostitute that is, because then we'll throw you in prison.
By A Staff Reporter
July 5th 2008
MUSCAT The Royal Oman Police arrested a person of Asian origin for running a brothel.
The arrested person was trying to persuade the sponsor of a lady who was under the custody of Seeb police to allow her to work with him after paying him a considerable amount of money, said an official source at the General Prosecution.
The suspect was put under surveillance and it was found that he was running a brothel.
The General Prosecution issued a warrant against the accused after it was found that his house was turned into a brothel.
The accused was charged for running a brothel and was referred to the court which ordered the pimp to one year imprisonment and the prostitutes to six months imprisonment and deportation.
General Prosecution has called upon the local residents to report such incidents or any illegal practices that contravene with the Omani society to the police.
I have a feeling that, despite the protests over the tier 3, there may well be a hell of a lot more brothels in Oman than the one busted earlier this month.
Here's the story of just 1 such woman, as published in the Times of India on the 30th March earlier this year.
KOCHI: It was midnight when Salim's (name changed) flight landed in Muscat on March 14. The weather was strange and so were the faces. All he had was Rs 6,000. But he knew he couldn't afford to despair.
As he rode a taxi to Ruwi City, Salim had one prayer on his lips - his wife should be alive. The last he had heard from her was a wail, before the call to their home in Malappuram in Kerala went blank.
The 32-year-old man had no idea that his wife had been trapped in a deadly, organised prostitution racket. She was sold and resold several times in Oman, where she was promised a job as a housemaid.
But he was determined to save her even if it meant risking his life. His efforts succeeded when Oman police, with the help of the Indian embassy, rescued her on March 23.
Arabian dreams lured Salim and his wife after he suffered business losses last year. The couple, married for two years, approached an agent who agreed to arrange visas for them - a housemaid's job for her and something else for him. Her visa came first and she left for Muscat on January 21, 2008 leaving behind Salim.
After about 40 days, he got a call from her. In between sobs, she told him that she had been cheated and would end her life. He was shattered but decided to rescue her at any cost. He then approached the same agent for a visa.
In Muscat, he got in touch with a man involved in the flesh trade and asked him to get his wife without revealing his relationship with her. The man took him to her for 35 riyals (Rs 3,500).
"They had lodged her on the terrace of what looked like a commercial complex. She cried and fainted as soon as she saw me but I reassured her saying I will be around. They became suspicious and tortured her into disclosing my identity," Salim told TOI from Muscat.
During their meeting, she narrated her woeful tale. "As soon as she arrived, the agent took her to a house where three men assaulted her. Then she was sold for 700 riyals to a pimp who would use her to satisfy as many as 30 men a day. He resold her for 200 riyals to one Jayalakshmi, a Keralite pimp."