11 November 2006

New law against human trafficking


The 16-article law spells stiff penalties against traffickers ranging from one year to life in prison and fines of Dh20,000 to Dh1 million.

Article one of the law defines human trafficking as “mobilising, transporting, dispatching, or receiving persons through the use or threatened use of force or any other forms of coercion, kidnapping, deceit, manipulation, misuse of power, exploitation of others’ weaknesses, or giving or receiving funds or advantages to win the


support of a person having influence over another person with a view to exploiting him.”


Exploitation is defined to include exploitation for sex, engaging others in prostitution, servitude, forced labour, enslavement, quasi-slavery practices, or detachment of organs.


An organised criminal gang is defined as a group of three or more people who collaborate to carry out a premeditated act with the intent of committing a human trafficking crime for the sake of gaining directly or indirectly financial or any other material benefit.



A crime is adjudged to be trans-national if it is:

1) Committed in more than one country.

2) Committed in one country but preparation, planning, direction and supervision were carried out from another country.


3) Committed in one country but the perpetrators were an organised criminal gang involved in criminal activities in several countries.


4) Committed in one country but its repercussions radiated into another country.

Article two sets an imprisonment term of at least five years for whoever commits a crime of human trafficking. The penalty will be life imprisonment if:


1) Perpetrator has created, organised, run, assumed a leading role in, or solicited others to join, an organised criminal gang.


2) The victim was a female, child [under 18 years], or handicapped.


3) The crime is committed through deceit, involved the use of force or threat of murder or bodily harm, or involved physical or psychological torture.


4) The crime is committed by two or more people, or by an armed person.


5) The perpetrator is a member of an organised criminal gang, or has consciously taken part in the activities of that gang.


6) The perpetrator is the husband, an ancestor, descendent, or guardian of the victim.


7) The perpetrator is a public servant or commissioned with a public task.


8) The crime is trans-national.


Article three spells out a penalty of one to five years in prison and/or a fine of Dh5,000 to Dh20,000 for whoever was aware of a plan to commit one of the human trafficking crimes, but failed to inform the concerned authorities.


The law stipulates various imprisonment and fines for a host of acts, including the use or threatened use of force or offering or promising a gift or advantage to prompt others to give a false testimony or withhold information, and possessing, harbouring or dispensing articles gained through a human-trafficking crime.


Corporate bodies will be liable to a fine ranging between Dh100,000 and one million if their representatives, managers, or agents committed a human trafficking crime.


According to Article 12, Council of Ministers shall set up a ‘National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking’, comprising representatives of several ministries and organisations, to be tasked with studying and revising human trafficking legislations with a view to securing the necessary protection according to international standards.


The committee shall also prepare reports on efforts taken by the UAE to fight human trafficking and coordinate anti-human trafficking efforts with other authorities concerned.


The law becomes effective one month after publication in the gazette.