Muscat: Over 300 female expatriates have been arrested so far this year from the Al Khuwair district of Muscat.
Most of the women detained are of African and Asian nationalities, according to Royal Oman Police (ROP).
This follows the arrest of 104 expatriate women on charges of immoral activities in the Sultanate, the ROP announced.
According to officials, the arrests took place in Al Khuwair in the governorate of Muscat on Saturday night.
The women were arrested on charges of violating public morals. An official at the ROP told the Times of Oman that the Al Khuwair district is very busy, especially at night. “There are lots of restaurants, coffee shops (shisha) and congested roads in Al Khuwair district,” he said.
“We received information about houses, flats and areas with suspicious activities and so we monitored these locations. Once we had a confirmation, we took action and arrested the women,” he further said.
The official affirmed that there were no minor girls among those arrested.
“We appeal to property owners in Al Khuwair, Muscat, to conduct a check on those who rent out their places, or they will be held accountable,” he said.
In March 2018, 240 expats were arrested for prostitution.
A total of 199 women and 48 men were arrested from Al Khuwair in March 2018.
In November 2016, Oman tightened restrictions on granting tourist visas to women from Southeast Asia. The decision came after police noticed an increase in immoral activities by women from specific countries, who were entering Oman on tourist visas.
Immigration now requires a round-trip ticket and a booking reservation at a four-star hotel. The number of days granted has been decreased from 30 to only 10 days.
Women visitors will also have to exit the country for at least a month before reapplying for another visa.
In September 2016, 21 Thai women, who were forced into the illegal activity, were rescued following a raid on a flat in Al Khuwair district of Muscat by the Omani and Thai police. Three Thai nationals who were running the racket were also arrested.
Thai officials flew to Muscat to free the women in coordination with the Omani police.
The women were reportedly lured by a Facebook group called “Pattaya find job+job application”, promising them jobs as masseuses at spas in Muscat, according to the Thai media.