UAE will do everything to eradicate human trafficking


Outlining the UAE’s four-pillar strategy during a panel discussion on the opening day of an International Conference on Human Trafficking in the Bahraini capital, Dr Gargash said, “Before seeing it as an international problem, it is important to realise that Islam, Arab culture and ethics do not accept the phenomenon of human trafficking in our society. We will do everything to eradicate it,” he said.

Dr Gargash is heading a UAE delegation to the two-day conference, titled ‘Human trafficking at the crossroads: Private-public partnership to fight human trafficking’, which is being held under the patronage of Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King of Bahrain, and Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt’s First Lady.

According to the minister, who is also the chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, “Acknowledging the problem is the first step towards solving it. All our other efforts are a work in progress.”

Calling for a “humble assessment” of the results achieved by the UAE so far, Dr Gargash said it is important to realise that the problem is huge. “We are doing something about it and will intensify our efforts in future,” he added.

He stressed the importance of the national committee in anti-trafficking efforts, which are coordinated by the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs.

“It (the committee) is constantly striving to push police action, prosecution, changing mindsets. Our efforts must be multi-layered and multinational. It is important to ensure that there is a functional co-ordination between and among immigration officers, police departments, judiciary and shelters.”

Referring to the victim-support mechanism, Dr Gargash discussed some of the cases handled by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai shelters and praised their efforts in the rehabilitation process. He also underlined the importance of education and training and referred to the UAE’s plans to launch a national media campaign as part of a public awareness drive and
educational strategy.

Other members on Dr Gargash’s panel included Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, head of Bahrain’s inter-governmental task force for combating human trafficking, Baroness Mary Goudie, Labour member of the British House of Lords, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Dr Margarita Cedeo de Fernandez, First Lady of the Dominican Republic.

Among the key subjects of discussion at the conference were national strategies, legal framework and criminal justice response, engagement of the business community in adhering to the ethics of trafficking, as well as prevention strategy and support.

Participants at the conference included members of governments and intergovernmental organisations, business community, civil societies, national and international NGOs as well as media and culture.

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