Mohammed al-Obaidly is one of the most important Qatari figures advocating for labor and human trafficking reforms in Qatar. As an Assistant Undersecretary within the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs, he has initiated or executed many of the policies and programs that have had significant impacts for trafficking victims. These include the creation of Labor Dispute Resolution Committees, the opening of the first and only shelter in the country for human trafficking victims, the removal of exit permit requirements for migrant workers, implementation of the minimum wage, and abolishment of the No Objection Certificate (migrant workers were previously required to obtain these certificates from their employer to transfer to another employer).
Qatar remains a difficult place for many migrant workers, and forced labor remains a serious concern in the country. Al-Obaidly has not solved Qatar’s human trafficking or labor rights problems, and he would admit it. However, he and his team at the Ministry have continued to strive toward the goal of increasing transparency and protections against forced labor for migrant workers.
Al-Obaidly and his team have been strategic and persistent in the drive to instill real change, even when the task at hand seemed impossible. Despite facing resistance and, at times, criticism, he and his team continue to work toward the implementation of labor reforms and improvement of workers’ lives. Most striking, al-Obaidly empowers his team and takes every opportunity for them to engage and share information with the public, including vulnerable communities, slowly building a passion for labor reforms within the Ministry.