Timeless hills look down upon the glittering lights of modern Matrah. The city fronts the strategic Gulf of Oman—sole entrance from the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Photograph by James L. Stanfield.
The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony.
In 1970, Qaboos bin Said al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.
The henna-dyed hands of an Omani bride. Photograph by James L. Stanfield.
But, the glamor of Oman hides a dirty secret.
Oman is a destination country for men and women primarily from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan who migrate willingly, some of whom become victims of human trafficking when subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, including non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement and withholding of passports, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.
Oman is believed to be a destination country for women from Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa for commercial sexual exploitation. Source: CIA factbook, Oman
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covertress' "vacation" hint:
I have been to neither Pakistan, Oman, Tanzania, Kenya, Wyoming nor South Africa recently. ;) - c