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07 December 2023

UAE prioritised efforts to combat human trafficking

By Wam

The UAE has prioritised its efforts to combat human trafficking, which has surpassed basic legislative requirements, by caring for victims and countering the negative effects of the crime.

The UAE’s message is in line with its ethical and humanitarian values, especially tolerance, equality and rule of law. The UAE has firmly countered attempts to undermine human rights, regardless of religion, race or language.

On the occasion of the annual World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30th July, the United Nations, UN, called on communities to counter human trafficking crimes.

The UAE government believes that human trafficking is a despicable crime and is committed to working to combat this practice in any form. The government is working hard on every element in its Five Ps strategy – Prevention, Prosecution, Punishment, Protection and Promotion (of international cooperation). Since the government first officially acknowledged this problem, it has consistently and continuously improved its efforts to limit the crime, as well as adhered to international standards.

Simultaneously, the UAE will continue to cooperate with all appropriate regional and international law enforcement officials to apprehend, prosecute and punish those violating the UAE’s human trafficking law and those attempting to use the country as a channel to violate anti-trafficking laws of other countries.

All these indicate that the UAE is committed to becoming a model for change in the region and an active member of the international community. It continues to welcome direct discussion and collaboration with other governments, public or private sector groups, or international organisations that share the vision of stemming the tide of human trafficking.

Several Emirati authorities care for human trafficking victims, including shelters for human trafficking and sexual abuse victims.

Social support centres in Abu Dhabi supervised by the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police provides integrated care for human trafficking victims, in cooperation with relevant institutions, such as the General Department of Human Rights in Dubai, under the supervision of the Dubai Police.

Dubai Foundation for Women and Children,DFWAC, was established in 2007 to provide support and psychological care to women, who are victims of violence, particularly human trafficking, domestic violence, and child abuse. These services are free of charge and non-discriminatory. The Foundation plays a vital role in improving social services for victims by providing a refuge to overcome psychological and physical effects of violence, oppression and neglect.

Victims are provided with comprehensive services, including immediate medical and psychological care, case management, in addition to consular, immigration and legal support, as well as educational and vocational training.

The Women’s Protection Centre in Sharjah, a branch of the Social Services Department, has a free telephone hotline, 800800700, which offers social, psychological and legal advice.

In 2016, the UAE launched an official campaign to combat human trafficking, after Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 was amended by Federal Law No. 1 of 2015 on combatting human trafficking, both locally and globally.

Cabinet Decree No. 15 of 2007 established the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, NCCHT, to give teeth to Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 on Combating Crimes of Human Trafficking and to create a coordinating body for anti-human trafficking efforts at all federal and local levels.

The responsibilities of the Committee include: Studying and revising human trafficking legislation with a view to enhancing and securing necessary protections in accordance with international standards;Developing the framework by which the anti-human trafficking law is implemented;Creating resources to increase public awareness of human trafficking issues; Preparing reports on efforts undertaken by the UAE to fight human trafficking, in coordination with other relevant authorities in the country; and Coordinating efforts among government authorities concerned with the issue of human trafficking such as ministries, departments, corporations and organisations, as well as coordinating follow-up actions taken to achieve these objectives and Promoting public awareness on matters related to human trafficking through conferences, seminars, brochures, periodic newsletters, training and other means in order to achieve the Committee’s goals.

The UAE also issued two bylaws in 2010 and 2011. The first regulated Federal Law 15 of 1993, which deals with organ transplant, and aimed to Control the process of preserving and transplanting human organs, tissues and cells; Prevent trafficking in human organs, tissues and cells; and Protect the rights of donors and recipients of human organs, tissues and cells.

The second bylaw is a regulation on Federal Law 18 of 2009. It modified the process of registration of births and deaths. This has been specifically developed so that parents can strictly confirm to birth and death registrations of children, which would help check human trafficking.

Ewa'a Shelter for Women and Children, the victim support facility, operating under the umbrella of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, accommodates victims and provide them with rehabilitation programmes, as well as medical, psychological and legal support. In 2011, Ewaa opened two more shelters for victims of human trafficking in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The Ministry of Interior has created policies to protect human rights and counter all forms of human trafficking, including policies on raising awareness, promoting the culture of combatting human trafficking, and cooperating with the International Criminal Police Organisation, INTERPOL.

The Ministry of Interior places great importance on organizational units concerned with protecting and promoting human rights, particularly combating human trafficking and issues related to women and children. As part of its institutionalised framework to combat this crime at the federal level, it has two departments: Centre for Statistics and Security Analysis and Department to Combat Human Trafficking Crimes. The Department to Combat Human Trafficking Crimes conducted many activities to improve the skills of officials dealing with this crime and to ensure a victim-centred approach.