Fight against human trafficking bears fruit

ABU DHABI - The number of human trafficking cases solved and referred to courts in the country has increased from 10 in 2007 to 58 last year, according to the 2010-11 annual report of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.


Nissar Hoath

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Published: Tue 26 Apr 2011, 12:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:48 AM

Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for FNC Affairs, who is also the Chairman of the committee, said the numbers issued only referred to cases that had reached all the way to the court.

Saying the problem could be larger than what the report figures show, Dr Gargash told Khaleej Times: “We had in the UAE 58 cases of human trafficking in 2010 that have gone all the way to the court. But that does not mean the UAE had 58 cases. It is much a larger problem (with a much larger number of people involved) like in every country in the world.

“I think with human trafficking, there are two things to be taken into account. First thing is the people who are being used and the people who are courted. People who are being used in trafficking in every country is much larger segment of the population that the people who are referred to the court.

The statistics revealed that Dubai topped the list of human trafficking cases courted and criminals jailed and penalised, while victims were given support by various organisations.

In Dubai, there were 28 cases involving 46 victims and 82 accused in 2010. In Abu Dhabi, the number of cases was seven with 46 victims and 19 accused. The second largest number of cases solved was in Sharjah where 31 victims and 41 accused were involved, followed by Ajman with four cases involving 12 victims and eight accused. In Ras Al Khaimah, there were two cases with nine victims and four accused, while in Fujairah, one case with two victims and five accused reached up to court.

When asked about exporting countries and nationalities of people involved in these cases, the minister said: “We tried to look at nationalities, but we did not really see the trend to come and say most of the people (both victims and accused) are from a particular country because our data comes from the prosecution record. From the prosecution, we don’t see a track. What we see is naturally more people involved are from countries surrounding the UAE. So we cannot say that nationality ‘A’ is predominant to nationality ‘B’.

“We had a case last year, for example, where 10 women were trafficked with both the victims and the accused were of the same nationality. It was a big case, but not necessarily it will happen again this year.” According to the report, the number of identified and solved human trafficking cases in the country in 2008 doubled to 20 from 10 in the previous year. The report also shows a trend were the number again got more than double to 45 in 2009.

“Our aim is to curb the crime and raise awareness among people against the inhuman crime and make sure that criminals are tried and punished severely so the others could learn a lesson. In fact, we have succeeded in the campaign as we see the number of criminals prosecuted over the years has been rising,” said Dr Gargash. He further added that for the last three to four years the cases were related to sexual abuse. “But for the first time we have been successful in taking a case of labour abuse to the court. I think this is a very important development. The number of cases being solved and referred to the court and police actions are encouraging and satisfying.”

About trafficking routes and sources, he said it has not been established whether more trafficking was done by land, sea or air. He explained: “Because that is not really what we are looking at. I assume more trafficking is by air (with the use of fake travel documents).”

The minister further added that the UAE was approaching the human trafficking problem not just as a domestic problem, but coordinating much more effectively at the international level.

Dr Gargash added: “The UAE’s official campaign against human trafficking has entered its fifth year. The process began with the enactment of the Federal Law No 51 in 2006 and the establishment of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in 2007.

“The results of the last four years suggest that the government has made significant and rapid progress in the short time. Despite this encouraging outcome, the UAE is aware that multiple and interlinked challenges associated with such criminal behavior requires sustained alert.”

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