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Crime in Qatar

Violent street crime is rare in Qatar. As in all Gulf Arab countries, social control is strict and punishments, often corporal, can be severe. However, the local media sometimes report that migrants are stopped by nationals posing as police officers who ask for their passports and money before leaving them stranded and penniless by the road. The most common local offence is government corruption, but nationals are inclined to consider this phenomenon a time-honoured tradition, as opposed to real crime. ‘Real’ crime according to both local and international standards, is often connected with drugs trafficking. Local and foreign gangs cater for the national market and traffic drugs from Asia – mostly Afghanistan – to the West.

In 2007 the UN Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on Trafficking in Persons claimed that Qatar is a destination for human trafficking, and is sometimes used as a transit country. The victims are mostly trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation. The UNSR criticized the lack of legal protection, which makes migrants extremely vulnerable to trafficking by organized gangs. These gangs are typically involved in interconnected criminal activities such as money laundering, drugs and weapons trafficking, extortion, visa fraud, usurious loans and profiteering.


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