In Iran (as a neighbor of these countries from the north of Persian Gulf) it is common to hear claims that sex slavery is active in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. You can find some samples of these news such as the following:

A report published in late 2011 by Identity, a gay magazine in Kenya, said that a number of gay Kenyan men are being trafficked into the Gulf countries to work as sex slaves for the wealthy.

“Qatar is a transit and destination country for men and women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and, to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution,” the US State Department stated in a recent report.

“Men and women from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and China voluntarily travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious physical or financial harm; job switching; the withholding of pay; charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports and travel documents and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; false charges; and physical, mental, and sexual abuse.”

Is this actually the case? Are there any collaborating reports showing more evidence of this claim?

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    I went to answer this based on the 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, but ultimately all my answer said was "This is hard to answer."
    – Oddthinking
    May 14, 2013 at 2:04
  • The quote says, "to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution": so the title asking whether sex slavery is "highly active" doesn't match the quote. The other claims, e.g. about passports, threats of deportation, are presumably more common-place and easier to find evidence for.
    – ChrisW
    May 14, 2013 at 2:30
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    @ChrisW not all those kept as sex slaves are necessarily forced into prostitution. Women kept for personal use only aren't usually counted among prostitutes, but are effectively enslaved if their means to break the relation are curtailed (which in many Arab and Islamic cultures is the case because most often women can't divorce or are even legally considered the property of their husbands (or lacking one, their fathers or brothers).
    – jwenting
    May 14, 2013 at 6:27
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    @jwenting They can divorce but it is difficult and surely it is different from one country to another one. For example in Tehran the capital of Iran we have 2 divorce out of 10 marriage and surely no one in Iran can force women to stay in the marriage. There are many rules against women rights but Iranian women do not take them serious. Anyway there is a long way to freedom. May 14, 2013 at 13:37
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    I think the comment discussions about marriage and divorce aren't terribly helpful. We've already seen from The Netherlands example that there are a range of techniques used to force compliance.
    – Oddthinking
    May 14, 2013 at 14:28


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