UAE sees positive result to its steps in countering human trafficking

DUBAI — While soaring economies lure millions of workers to the Gulf, authorities say they are struggling to deal with an unwanted byproduct: human traffickers who bring in prostitutes and child camel riders, along with unscrupulous companies that refuse to pay their imported workers.

By (AP)

Published: Mon 6 Jun 2005, 10:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar — among the top US allies in the Middle East — were among 14 countries warned by the US State Department this week that they face sanctions if they don’t adequately address human trafficking.

The UAE Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said yesterday he was confident the State Department’s “audit” condemning the country as a haven for smuggled prostitutes and child camel riders would soon be reversed.

“These reports are usually a good occasion to look at the issues from another perspective, as if you’re having an auditor look at what you’ve done,” Al Nahyan said. “We’re confident that all the steps we’re taking are leading to a positive outcome.”

Qatar insisted its laws prohibited human trafficking and said it was not aware of any such rights violations. “These claims are totally unexpected and are something we disagree with completely,” a senior Qatari official said.

The US report also slammed the four countries for exploiting the low-wage foreign labourers who underpin the construction booms under way in the Gulf. It said governments allowed companies to exploit low-paid foreign workers, while withholding passports and sometimes pay.

The State Department described the labour abuses as “involuntary servitude, a severe form of trafficking.”

More news from