Prostitution in Oman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prostitution in Oman is illegal,[1] but women from Eastern Europe, South Asia, North Africa, and China engage in prostitution in the country.[1] Prostitution occurs in bars, hotels, nightclubs, brothels, massage parlors and health clubs.

Sex trafficking is a problem in Oman.[2]

Legal situation[edit]

Only sex within a legalized marriage is permitted. Women's sex outside legal marriage is criminalised as zina (illegal sex, adultery, fornication). It is women, and not their clients, who are legally penalised for sex work which carries a jail sentence between three and five years.[3] Living on the proceeds of prostitution is a crime, punishable by a fine and up to three months imprisonment (criminal code article 221).[4][5] Additionally, any foreigner who commits an act against "public order or good morals" or who does not have a legal source of income may be deported (law 16 of 1995, articles 31[1] and 31[5]).[5]

Police crackdowns are frequent. 43 women were arrested in raids in Bausher in December 2016 and over 100 in simultaneous raids in Al Khuwayr in August 2017.[6]

Hundreds of Southeast Asian women have been arrested for prostitution, and in November 2016 the issuing of tourist visas to women from Southeast Asia was restricted.[7]

In the 3 years prior to August 2017, 273 people were arrested for prostitution and all received a minimum of 3 years jail sentence.[3]

Sex trafficking[edit]

Oman is a destination and transit country for women, primarily from South and East Asia and East and North Africa, subjected to sex trafficking, often by nationals of their own countries. There have been anecdotal reports that female domestic workers from countries without a diplomatic presence in Oman are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking. Domestic workers who flee their employers are also vulnerable to forced prostitution.[2]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, young women were trafficked from the former Soviet Union for sex work. In 2005 Oman ratified the International Labour Organization's 1959 convention prohibiting forced labour. By that time foreign migrant workers made up 60% of Oman's population, and their standard of living was lower than the Omani average (Oman is classified as "medium human development" by the United Nations Development Programme).[5] Oman has a serious problem of people trafficking involving women and is considered a "Tier 2" country by the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.[8]


  1. ^ a b "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Oman 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2018.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b Al Shaibany, Saleh (23 August 2017). "Oman cracks down on prostitution in an attempt to 'clear streets'". The National. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  4. ^ Oman Royal Police Handbook. Intl Business Pubns USA. 20 March 2009. p. 113. ISBN 978-1438736907.
  5. ^ a b c Melissa Hope Ditmore (2006). Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work. Vol. 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 40–41. ISBN 9780313329692.
  6. ^ "ROP arrests over 100 women for prostitution in Al Khuwayr - Oman". Muscat Daily News. 16 August 2017. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  7. ^ Fahad Al Mukrashi (30 November 2016). "Oman tightens tourist visa rules to curb prostitution". Gulf News.
  8. ^ "Oman 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.