Illegal visa trade being monitored

February 11, 2013 - 4:28:54 am

DOHA: The agency responsible for fighting human trafficking says it is monitoring at least 60 cases that have been filed in the courts against companies that trade in work visas.

The visas are genuine but the companies that have sold the visas don’t have jobs and accommodation for their victims, many of whom have gone to court demanding justice. 

The Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking has set up offices at the Preliminary Court, as also at the Labour Court, to keep a close track on the cases that are filed by the victims of the illegal visa trade.

The objective of the Foundation behind setting up branch offices at the courts is to know such cases and interact with the victims of the thriving visa trade and provide them legal assistance in fighting the court cases.

A vast majority of the hapless victims are low-income workers and it has been found that invariably in each case they have been cheated by people from their own nationality.

A senior Foundation official said that when the victims realize after landing here that they have been cheated they either go to court or approach the Foundation’s offices in the court premises for help. “We then coordinate with the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Interior to find a solution to a victim’s woes,” said a senior Foundation official, Ashraf Mahfooz.

Those workers who don’t have accommodation are helped by the Foundation. “We have, thus, been able to earn the trust of the cheated workers and we are glad that we are helping them.”

The victims should not be left without sponsors, or they might be led to seek revenge, posing a grave danger to social stability and security in the country, the official added.

The government is quite flexible in this regard and actively cooperates in such cases. Some of the victims prefer to return home while others are helped to find sponsors and jobs.

The challenge is to make sure that the stay and work of the victims are legal in the country, said the official. He said the Foundation had set up the branch offices at the courts last year.

He added that the companies and individuals responsible for visa trade and for cheating hapless workers are being taken to task. “They are being made accountable,” Mahfooz said.

The Peninsula