UAE active in fight against human trafficking Gargash

Filed on October 19, 2010

ABU DHABI -- Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), said the UAE had joined the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, a coalition of 20 countries, out of its firm and active commitment as a responsible member of the international community to combating all forms of crimes related to trafficking in persons.

He said the UAE is also making strenuous efforts to counter spread of these crimes because of their political, social and cultural bearings.

“Partnerships between countries and broadening the scope of joint cooperation will enhance their collective coordination at all fronts and upgrade and unify

laws and legislations so as to empower government competent bodies to enforce adequate measures to provide protection and assistance to victims of human

trafficking and help eradicate the international phenomenon,” Dr Garagsh said on the occasion of the UAE participation in the Group’s first ministerial meeting

which was held recently in New York to step up efforts against modern-day slavery.

The UAE team was led by Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State. The efforts of the UAE anti-human trafficking panel, he affirmed, are nothing more than a translation of the UAE leadership’s vision for combating and restraining these crimes through implementation of the highest standards, enhancement of efforts and coordination of competent agencies in order to overhaul working national legislations at par with the internationally recognised practices so as to prevent and suppress this heinous international crime.

“The extent of the NCCHT as a dynamic member of the international community has been demonstrated through its accession to and conclusion of, a series of international relevant conventions and associations as well as its active engagements in regional and international forums, cooperation with governments and non-government agencies in friendly countries,”he added.

The minister said the Ewaa, shelter for women and child victims of human trafficking, provides temporary refuge to victims who are entitled to receive rehabilitation and further assistance such as medical and psychological support.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime applauded the initiative led by 20 countries (Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela) to create the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking in February 2010.

Lending his weight to the initiative, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, lauded “the Group’s commitment to promote decisive actions at national, regional

and international levels to strengthen the fight against trafficking in persons”.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 2.4 million people are currently being exploited as victims of human trafficking. Every year, thousands of women and children are exploited by criminals for forced labour or in the sex trade. No country is immune. Almost all play a part, either as countries of origin, transit or destination.

The Group has played an important role in supporting the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Adopted by the General Assembly in July 2010, the Plan urges Governments to take coordinated, comprehensive and consistent steps to combat such trafficking and to adopt a human rights-based approach.

The Plan called for the setting up of a United Nations voluntary trust fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children. The fund would help Governments, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, to protect and support victims of human trafficking so that they can recover from their physical and psychological scars. It would also afford them legal and financial aid. UNODC is currently working towards the establishment of the fund.

Recognizing that political commitment alone is no guarantee of success, the UNODC chief appealed to donors: “Right now, what the fund needs most is the fuel to make it run. I call on Member States, the private sector and philanthropists to contribute generously to this trust fund when it is launched in few months’ time. It is your financial support that will be pivotal to its success,” said Mr. Fedotov.

Founded in February 2010 as an informal, voluntary and open-ended association of UN Member States, the Group of Friends seeks to help reinvigorate and consolidate the global fight against trafficking in persons.

At the heart of this initiative is to promote the elaboration of a global plan of action against human trafficking, with engagement in this process of such critical stakeholders as civil society, mass media and private businesses. The Group of Friends seeks to enhance the role of the United Nations in fighting human trafficking and to promote better coordination and cohesiveness of

anti-trafficking efforts, including through elaboration and implementation of a global plan of action against trafficking in persons. It sees that it is high time that the efforts of the world community were harnessed and synergized by channelling them into a coherent, balanced and comprehensive framework.

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