UAE steps up war on human trafficking


‘Combating Human Trafficking in the UAE 2007’, released a year after the committee was formed, highlights the country’s stand on the crime, the efforts to counter it, the obstacles and challenges it has encountered, as well as plans for the future.

The report, released ahead of the UAE’s participation at the UN General Assembly debate on trafficking in New York in June, focuses on the measures taken since Federal Law 51 came into force. The 16-article law, effective since November 2006, spells out stiff penalties against traffickers ranging from one year to life imprisonment and fines of Dh100,000 and Dh1 million.

“At least 10 human trafficking-related cases were registered by the end of 2007 under the clauses of the new law,” explained the report. "Notably, there were also convictions in at least five cases during this period, with the convicted receiving jail terms ranging from three to 10 years for committing, aiding or abetting human trafficking," it added.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash, who is also Chair of the UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, said, "the UAE is firm against the exploitation of human beings for any purposes and against the coercive, illegal and inhumane treatment of any individual. ‘The country’s resolve to fight human trafficking at home and abroad in collaboration with international partners remains central to our counter-trafficking strategy. General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has cemented this resolve with a generous donation to the UN.GIFT to establish an international network to fight this crime".

Dr. Gargash said, "The UAE is not ashamed to admit that the problem of trafficking afflicts this country as it does many other countries. It would be wrong, however, if immediate action is not taken once the crime is recognised, and the UAE is therefore pursuing an active and results-oriented strategy that aims to achieve immediate impact."

The publication aims to share the UAE’s efforts with our partners and promote dialogue, transparency and knowledge exchange in order to learn from the experiences of other nations in combating this crime. The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, which was established in March 2007, is committed to producing regular reports annually in order to document progress and challenges in fighting this global crime.

In parallel to the UAE’s tough stand on anyone convicted of trafficking, the report also documents measures that reflect the UAE’s concern about the victims of this crime and their physical and emotional well-being. The report outlines the progress that the UAE has achieved with regards to the victim support network, noting the important work carried out by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children and the new shelter in Abu Dhabi for victims of trafficking.

Specific measures associated with the UAE’s comprehensive four-pillar action plan — legislation, enforcement, victim support, bilateral agreements and international partnerships — are elaborated on through the report, which can be obtained from the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in both Arabic and English.

The report concludes by emphasising that the UAE has achieved much in a short period of time, but realises that much more needs to be done to combat the challenge. The country is committed to serving as an active member of the international community, as well as a model for change in the region and takes these responsibilities seriously.


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