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DOHA: A young Indian woman who was allegedly brought here on a visit visa to be forced into prostitution blew the whistle on her captors after she returned home.
She blew the lid off an alleged sex racket claiming that she was now being taken to Singapore as “there wasn’t enough business in Doha”.
The 28-year-old woman hailed from India’s southern Kerala state that sends the largest number of Indians to Qatar and the rest of the GCC region.
Critics here say Qatari authorities must issue visit visas for young single women from any nationality only after doubly verifying their credentials.
“The incident involving the Indian woman underlines the need for a strict visit visa regime for single foreign women like it existed earlier,” said a Qatari community elder not wanting his name in print
The Indian woman was, incidentally, brought here on a three-month visit visa as an ‘assistant beautician’ and was promised that she would be allowed to travel back home at the end of her visa’s validity.
The woman told the police she was taken to Doha to work as an ‘assistant beautician’ but was actually forced into the flesh trade.
She said she was taken back to Kochi and was put up in a hotel as she was to be flown to Singapore because “her captors didn’t get enough business in Doha”.
At the hotel in Kochi, the woman narrated her woes to a room boy who alerted his bosses following which the police were informed. The cops took three persons into custody and charged them with running a sex racket, Malayala Manorama online reported yesterday.
The woman said she was married and had three children. Her husband is a menial worker and that she was lured into the Doha ‘assignment’ since she needed money to treat her eldest son who is suffering from some serious cardiac ailment.
Critics, meanwhile, also stress the need for the Qatari authorities to put some restrictions on the tourist visas issued to young single women of different nationalities at the behest of hotels.
Hotels charge anywhere between QR700 and QR1,000 per person to sponsor visit visas. Many companies needing workers like salesmen and women or office staff tend to take the short cut and get the workers here on tourist visas provided by hotels.
These visas are then changed by the companies into work visas. According to sources, employers are forced to resort to such means because several major manpower exporting countries have made recruitment procedures quite time-consuming and cumbersome.
“It normally takes three months to get a salesman or woman or technician, for example from certain countries due to lengthy documentation and approval procedures. Qatar is not to blame for such delays.
Companies can hardly afford to wait for so long and so take the hotel route which is so simple,” said the critic.
These workers don’t actually stay at the hotels and the latter levy charges only for helping issue tourist visas, he added. “Some monitoring is required, especially if a tourist visa is being issued to a young single woman,” said a resident.