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199 women arrested in Oman for prostitution

48 men also held; all defendents will be charged with infiltration, prostitution and trafficking

Gulf News

Muscat: At least 199 of Southeast Asian and African women have been arrested for prostitution in Bausher province of Muscat governorate, according to the Royal Oman Police (ROP). Forty eight men were also arrested.

“Several locations in Al Khuwair district were raided by the Special Forces Police, Ministry of Manpower and Bousher Municipality, which led to the arrest of 199 women,” the statement said.

The statement added the defendants will be charged with infiltration, Labour and Foreigners Residency Law violations, fraud, prostitution and human trafficking. The case has been referred to judicial authorities for further investigation and trial.

In November, 2016, as part of a clampdown on prostitution, Oman tightened restrictions on granting tourist visas for women from Southeast Asia. The decision came after police noticed an increase in prostitution activities by women from specific countries entering Oman on tourist visas.

Immigration now requires a round-trip ticket and a booking reservation at a four-star hotel. The number of days granted has been decreased from 30 to only 10 days.

The woman visitor will also have to be away from the country for at least a month before reapplying for another visa. Hundreds of Southeast Asian women were arrested for prostitution in 2017.

In September, 2016, 21 Thai women, who were forced into prostitution, were rescued following a raid on a flat in Al Khuwair district of Muscat by Omani and Thai police. Three Thai nationals who were running the brothel were also arrested. Thai officials flew to Muscat to free the women in coordination with Omani police. The women were reportedly lured by a Facebook group called “Pattaya find job+job application”, promising them jobs as masseuses in spas in Muscat, according to Thai media.