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Human trafficking cases see marked drop in 2011 to 37: Gargash

posted on 18/04/2012: 1175 views



Human trafficking-related cases dropped to 37 in 2011 from 58 cases registered in 2010 thanks to the strict enforcement of the UAE Federal Law No. 51, 2006 on Combating Human Trafficking Crimes, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash, and Chairman of the UAE National Committee to Combat Trafficking (NCCHT), unveiled yesterday.

Releasing the annual report 2011-2012 on Combating Human Trafficking in the UAE, Dr. Gargash noted the good job done by the NCCHT especially in regards to heightening public awareness about the crimes of trafficking in persons and the firm commitment of law enforcement agencies to fighting these crimes were behind the marked decline in the number of human trafficking-related cases.

This is in contrary to 2007 and 2010 which saw similar surge in the number of cases.

'The UAE's official campaign against human trafficking has entered its sixth year. The process began with the enactment of Federal Law 51 in 2006 and the establishment of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in 2007. The results of the last years suggest that the government has made significant and rapid progress in a short time. Despite this encouraging outcome, the UAE is aware that multiple and interlinked challenges associated with such criminal behaviour requires sustained alert. In light of this realisation, the government is determined to not just thwart the prevailing means of exploitation, but also improve in future the detection and prosecution tools of this crime,' Dr. Gargash told the press conference he held to launch the annual report.

In the framework of implementing the strategy of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, the minister indicated the UAE took several significant steps during 2011. These include ; approval of the Federal Cabinet of a draft law on domestic workers, the first of its kind in the UAE; launch of a new online system by the UAE Ministry of Labour to streamline verification of labour contracts. The web-based system aims to protect workers from any forms of exploitation.

'New shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking were opened in emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah under the umbrella of the UAE Red Crescent Authority,' he added.

The UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) has launched its website: http://www.nccht.gov.ae to enhance awareness about human trafficking. It also aims to enhance the committee's communication activities to reach all segments of the UAE community. The online initiative highlights the UAE's commitment to leverage all necessary tools to combat transnational human trafficking crimes and to limit its impact on the society.

The NCCHT conducted several workshops and training courses as part of its efforts to continuously improve the skills of law enforcement agencies.

'The government is committed to taking the lead in acknowledging the existence of human trafficking as an issue that afflicts the UAE society, as it does in many other parts of the world. Combating this crime is a goal the UAE shares with all nations.

Despite achieving a number of its objectives in a short span, the government remains committed to improving its efforts to keep pace with international best practices in tackling human trafficking from a solid ground of our values and beliefs,' Dr. Gargash concluded.

The publication of the report aims to share the UAE's efforts with 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 is committed to producing regular reports annually in order to document progress and challenges in fighting this global crime. 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.

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.

The UAE receives large numbers of temporary contractual workers every year, who have made an important contribution to the development of the country. Unfortunately, criminals have been engaged in recruiting contractual workers and trafficking them illegally into the country. For the majority of trafficked people, it is only when they arrive in the UAE that they realise that the work they were promised does not exist and they are forced instead to get employed in jobs or conditions to which they did not give their consent. Since the criminal activity begins from source countries, creating partnerships with both source and transit countries is now of paramount importance to the national strategy of the UAE'.

'The government also recognises the importance of addressing the commercial impetus behind human trafficking in any national legislation and policy. Trafficking is a thriving global business that generates millions of dollars and accounts for millions of victims every year. It is also linked to other organised crimes like human smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering. The majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation and the rest into forced exploitative labour.

The report notes that :'The implementation of the UAE's legal and social support mechanisms during the last five years of its concerted fight against human trafficking has been recognised by the international community.

This report is part of the new approach of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking to share information with the general public and international community, and highlight the UAE's stance on this issue, record progress, identify obstacles and challenges encountered during the last year, and spell out future initiatives.

The report also aims to measure the progress of the UAE in the long run and serve as a channel to promote dialogue and transparency in information exchange at the international level.

The government recognises that the more informed it is about victims, source and transit countries and methodologies practiced by traffickers, the more it can do to prevent this crime. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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