Sexual exploitation is a global problem. Many people, including sex workers, are at risk of exploitation. During large sporting tournaments, you can help keep them safe by learning how to spot the signs of exploitation and where to safely report anything that seems suspicious.
Have you seen something suspicious?
Exploitation is happening
The massive influx of fans during sporting tournaments can mean that workers in the adult services are in higher demand.
Sex workers are at risk of being exploited, or forced to do something for the financial benefit of traffickers.
Remember: commercial sex in Qatar is also illegal. Not only does this increase the risk that sex workers are being coerced, but it involves a risk to the buyers. You could face severe penalties, including a 7 year prison sentence.
Spot the signs of sexual exploitation
Sexual exploitation involves the abuse of a position of vulnerability, power, or trust, for sexual purposes. It includes, but is not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
In Qatar, being a sex worker is illegal. This puts sex workers at a high risk of exploitation as they have few places to turn to for help.
Sexual exploitation may therefore be very hidden in Qatar. Some signs you can look out for are:
If you are staying in Dubai, you might be able to spot more visible signs of potential sexual exploitation:
Please be considerate about the sensitivities and cultural norms of the region before responding.
Be mindful that approaching any sex worker could put them in an uncomfortable or risky position, and at risk of retaliation and/or prosecution. Again, being a sex worker is illegal in Qatar and victims of exploitation may be prosecuted and/or harmed. We generally suggest not approaching sex workers for the purpose of questioning them.
You can instead leave a secure report about this through our anonymous reporting tool, The STOP APP.
Reports are checked by STOP THE TRAFFIK’s intelligence and safeguarding team, who analyse trends in reports to prevent trafficking. Individuals who are identified as needing immediate safety will be referred to appropriate organisations.
We advise against taking photographs or videos, or publishing your concerns on social media, as this could put the worker and yourself at risk.
If you believe you are experiencing sexual exploitation, see our advice about seeking help.
How to safely report a suspected incident
If you see something that doesn’t look right during your time in Qatar, you can let us know through our STOP APP.
The app is anonymous, confidential, and secure. There will be no record of the report submitted on your phone.
The STOP APP is available in multiple languages and can be downloaded by anyone who has access to a smartphone. It is available on Google Play and the App store.
Please read the instructions below before making your report
How it works
Make sure you are in a safe place away from the suspected incident when making the report.
You can describe the incident, the type of exploitation in question, the date, and the location.
Upload your contact details if you want us to contact you. You have the option to remain anonymous.
Please give us as much information as possible when filling out the form, but be mindful of the laws below surrounding photos and videos, especially regarding sexually explicit content.
The reports are checked by trained members of our charity, who work in intelligence at the STOP THE TRAFFIK Group. Any safeguarding concerns will be analysed by the team and acted upon accordingly.
Alternatively, you can submit a report through the online form on our website, which functions in the same way.
Useful details to include in your report
1. Descriptions of people involved in the crime, suspects, associates, and criminal groups or organizations
2. Telephone numbers, suspects’ addresses, website URLs, social media information
3. Every aspect of the crime
4. How those involved travel, and details of the vehicles used in the commission of the crimes
5. Anything to do with financial transactions. How advertised sexual services suggest payment (online vs cash); amounts suggested for services
6. The hotel name and address of where you saw something suspicious
7. Any social media adverts that advertise sexual services + where you saw them + what they offered
If you are unsure if what you’ve seen is enough to report, please do still report. Your piece of information may still make a big difference.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a human trafficking prevention organisation. This app collects individuals’ stories of global human trafficking to disrupt and prevent this crime. We are not a rescue organisation and this app is not monitored 24/7 but will be checked everyday.
How to seek help if you are at risk
If you are a victim of exploitation or a witness wanting to come forward, you can contact your home country’s embassy if you feel it is safe to do so. Although they are generally limited in actions they can take, some may give you guidance, shelter, or Emergency Travel Certificates if you are allowed to exit the country.
It is your choice whether to contact local authorities. Please be aware that there are risks involved, notably to sexual exploitation victims and LGBTQIA+ individuals. Sex work and homosexual behaviour are illegal in Qatar, and victims may additionally face prosecution for the offence of sex outside of marriage. Please visit your country of origin’s foreign travel advice for advice and information.