Qatar Government has chalked out a six-point strategy to combat human trafficking and rehabilitate victims, the ministry of foreign affairs has announced.

"The government has decided to take the required procedures and actions to combat human trafficking," a spokesperson at the ministry of foreign affairs told Gulf News yesterday.

Gulf News file
Camel race organisers gears up for testing a robot jockey in Qatar. The joint initiative of several ministries and government department places special emphasis on rehabilitating child jockeys.

The measures are the joint initiatives of several government departments and ministries, including foreign affairs, interior and civil services and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA).

The government has decided to create a national committee to oversee programmes of rehabilitation and help for the victims of human trafficking under the supervision of the SCFA and in collaboration with the ministries of interior and foreign affairs," he said.

The planned steps include the formation of a rehabilitation and help centre for the victims under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Services.

The interior ministry will set up hotlines in Arabic, English and Urdu languages for people and witnesses who wish to report cases of human trafficking or lodge complaints. Another hotline will be set up at the SCFA to provide victims with advice and support.

Reading out the six-point strategy, the official said the government also gave instructions for the creation of a website, where people can report cases and victims can post statements or disclose abuses. The government also ordered the appointment of a national coordinator for combating human trafficking.

Special attention

A press officer at the interior ministry told Gulf News that the move aims to uproot human trafficking in all its forms, although special attention will be dedicated to child trafficking for camel races, a popular sport in the region.

"The measures target victims of traffickers who deal in camel races, prostitution, workers' trafficking and all forms of human slavery," he said. "Nevertheless, our main target will be to combat child trafficking for camel races."

The official said the move is part of the government's efforts to activate its legislation on human trafficking and the international conventions for the protection of children's rights, of which Qatar is a signatory.

Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar's Heir Apparent, signed a law banning use of children under 18 as jockeys. The decree, issued in May, said violators risk fines up to QR200,000 (about Dh200,000) and a jail sentence of between 3 and 10 years.

International human rights groups had raised the alarm over the exploitation of children from Asian and African countries by traffickers who pay impoverished parents paltry sums or kidnap their victims to smuggle them into the Gulf.