13 December 2010

UAE National Committee and Johns Hopkins co-host workshop on GCC human trafficking legislation

His Excellency Tarek Lootah, Secretary General of the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs, inaugurated the workshop on behalf of His Excellency Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and chair of The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.

“This workshop has been organized to compare legislation in the GCC countries and to discuss how to unify efforts to eradicate human trafficking, which is a crime against mankind and is condemned by all religions and international norms,” said Mr Lootah. 

Lootah presented the UAE’s experience since passing the landmark Federal Law No. 51, the only law in the Arab world that prohibits human trafficking and subjects perpetrators to severe penalties.

Lootah said: “Human trafficking exists in countries around the world despite international norms prohibiting the practice. The fight against trafficking can not be won without national legislation and a comprehensive system to implement it.”

Following enactment of the UAE Federal Law 51, the Cabinet established the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking to oversee its implementation, also a landmark for the region. Dr Anwar Gargash chairs the intra-governmental committee that is also tasked with coordinating anti-trafficking measures, raising awareness, and facilitating victim rehabilitation.

Lootah said the UAE is approaching the scourge of human trafficking comprehensively, including regulating the labour sector, and training law enforcement officers. He specifically mentioned the role of the Dubai Police through its Human Rights Division in accelerating efforts to eradicate trafficking and the Dubai Woman and Child Foundation that was recently established and caters to victims of trafficking and other forms of violence.

Dr. Mohammad Mattar from Johns Hopkins University commended the UAE’s leadership on combating human trafficking, also acknowledged by the Council of Arab Justice Ministers. Mattar reminded participants of the Arab League’s call for states to pass anti-trafficking legislation. Mattar also highlighted the need for countries in the region to sign relevant international instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol on human trafficking, which eleven Arab States have signed.

The UAE will continue to work toward regional cooperation and intends to expand its role internationally by sponsoring of the United Nation’s Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking in February 2008.

26 June 2010

Human trafficking ring arrested red-handed in Abu Dhabi

The suspects were also charged with having and selling pornographic movie CDs and alcohols as well as using commercial activity as a cover for their involvement in prostitution.

An official from the Public Persecution in Abu Dhabi confirmed that they demanded the harshest punishment for the suspects in line with the UAE policy of promoting human rights and protecting victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking crimes.

The suspects formed a criminal ring to bring women from Asian country. They promised victims with jobs as beauticians and massage workers. However, they were confiscating the victims? passports once in the Country and threatening them to agree to work in prostitution. They used a restaurant as well as antiques and gifts shop to operate and disguise their real criminal business and to house the victim.

The suspects as well as the victims were arrested red-handed in the restaurant and the shop. Passports of the victims in addition to a large stock of alcohols and pornographic CDs for sale were also found.

When interrogated, the suspected confessed that they forced their victims to work in prostitution after recruiting them as beauticians from abroad on promise of salaries up to Dh 6,000. They obtained work permits and visas for their victims and confiscated their passports once in the Country. The victims were imprisoned in a house operated by the ring and forced under threat to serve the clients of their criminal business.

The Public Persecution demanded life imprisonments and deportation for the suspects as per the provisions of the Human Trafficking Federal Law No. 51 of 2006.

06 June 2010

New UAE shelters to help combat human trafficking

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, and Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA), has issued a decision establishing two new shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) and Sharjah.

The centres will be subject to the direct supervision of the Administration of the Abu Dhabi Ewaa Shelters for Women and Children.

Article No 2 of the decision stipulates that the centres will exercise their jurisdictions and responsibilities to achieve the humanitarian objectives of the shelters and in compliance with the provisions of article No 4 of Decision No 1 for 2008 by RCA President on the establishment of shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The resolution specified in its article No 3 that the shelters shall operate in accordance with the organisational structure and regulations established by the Ewaa centres.

The decision will take effect from the date of its issuance, and authorities concerned should implement it within their respective jurisdictions.

Leading position

Shaikh Hamdan said the UAE, under the directive of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, aims to occupy a leading position as part of global efforts to combat human trafficking.

“The UAE is determined to combat this scourge at home and abroad,” he said.

Shaikh Hamdan praised the support of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and his noble directives for allocating the founding budget of Abu Dhabi Ewaa Centre, and the allocation of a budget of Dh10 million for shelters this year. He praised the efforts of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the UAE General Women’s Union and the Family Development Foundation, in the field of combating human trafficking which was evident through her donation of a plot of land for building a care centre for women and children victims.

Shaikh Hamdan stressed the UAE’s keenness to take all measures to combat trafficking in human beings, especially women and children in line with the principles of non-discrimination internationally and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of victims.

He also praised the role played by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, chaired by Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, and all relevant authorities.

02 June 2010

Abu Dhabi Festival proceeds donation to civil society partner Ewa’a

ADMAF Founder, Mrs. Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo, presented the donation of AED 556,000 to Mrs. Sarah Shuhail, Executive Director of Ewa?a Shelters for Women and Children, during a ceremony held at the Armed Forces Officers Club.
The Abu Dhabi Festival proceeds are donated to a nominated charity every year in line with the spirit of ?Bilad Al Khayr?, a central value of the festival that seeks to celebrate unity, respect and tolerance through a celebration of the arts across the seven Emirates. The Ewa?a Shelter was one of the four civil society organisations the Festival partnered with in 2010 as an extension of its community outreach programme. During the Abu Dhabi Festival, Ewa?a was given the opportunity to spread their message and raise awareness for their worthwhile work.
?Every year we donate the proceeds from the Abu Dhabi Festival to an organisation that strives to make a difference in our community. This lies at the heart of the festival, which is a celebration of art and creativity but also a celebration of the people of the UAE, the people of ?Bilad Al Khayr? Said Mrs. Kanoo. ?Today we reaffirm the support we offered throughout the festival to the Ewa?a Shelters for Women and Children with this humble donation. The shelter?s mission is in line with ADMAF?s and the festival?s commitment to work with communities throughout the country to uphold respect, tolerance and unity? she said. ?I hope our contribution will help the organization to further advance its noble cause. I am confident that as our community programme grows, we will continue our support to the Ewa?a Shelters for Women and Children and our other civil society partners.? Added Mrs. Kanoo.
Praising the initiative, Mrs. Sarah Shuhail, Executive Director of the Ewa?a Shelters, expressed her gratitude to ADMAF for the donation, assuring that it will significantly contribute to their efforts to provide care for victims of human trafficking. Shuhail also stressed that such initiatives reinforce social responsibility at national institutions and provide support for the government?s efforts to fight this crime. She said:
?This donation reflects ADMAF?s deep understanding of its duties and its social responsibility towards humanitarian issues in the UAE. Providing care to victims of human trafficking is a responsibility we all share and we are keen to create strong partnerships with various authorities and institutions in the country to drum up support for this humanitarian issue. I am confident that our partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation will make an important difference and a qualitative leap in strengthening these efforts.?

31 May 2010

Abu Dhabi Police: a comprehensive security strategy

 to address the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police and the guidance of HH Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, the crimes of human trafficking in all its forms, levels, and seeking to build a strategy comprehensive security for the prevention of this crime and punish the perpetrators.

The Borshid yesterday on the sidelines of a seminar organized by the Department of inquiries and criminal investigations at Abu Dhabi Police on the dangers of trafficking in human beings 5-day, with the participation of representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Labour and on behalf of Abu Dhabi and the National Committee of trafficking in human beings and the Police College, said that addressing the problem of trafficking in human beings is a national responsibility, one of the most critical issues of interest global, regional and local levels because of their effects and serious consequences for the community.

The Borshid that the Department investigation into the Abu Dhabi Police and the basis of their national responsibility and security in the protection of society from the dangers of such social crimes, working with relevant agencies to build strategic partnerships to prevent these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice, pointing out that the establishment of this seminar sponsored by Major General Mohammed bin Al-Awadi Menhali General Manager Human Resources General Manager of Operations Police Acting aims to increase awareness of the problem of trafficking in human beings, and broaden the base of information and statistical data of this phenomenon and increase the volume of technical assistance in this area and building partnerships to address, in coordination with the relevant local and international to meet the offender to this problem.

The report, Dr. Khalid Saeed Naqbi lecturer at the Police College during the symposium, that the crimes of trafficking in human beings a form of modern-day slavery, where it is estimated that about 1-2 million people are trafficked worldwide, including 150 thousand from South Asia and 250 thousand South-East Asia.

The platinum sponsor of human trafficking violations of human rights, where the victims suffer from ill-treatment in physical, mental and social stigma because of isolation and family disintegration. And highlighted the United Nations Protocol to Prevent Trafficking in Human Beings and the Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 and the Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 and Federal Law No. 39 of 2006 concerning international cooperation in criminal matters and other penal laws that punish trafficking in human beings, calling on everyone to cooperate with Abu Dhabi Police to address these crimes punishable by law in some cases, life imprisonment or the death penalty in the event of death of the victim.

The first law on the Arab level

The Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 on combating trafficking in human beings is the first of its kind in the Arab world, has issued this law consistent with federal laws in force concerning the entry and residence of foreigners and regulation of labor relations and organization of participation in the sport of camel racing and Criminal Procedure and Penal Code. The Law on Human Trafficking on the maximum penalties, including life imprisonment, and covers all forms of trafficking in human beings, there is not only slavery, disguised, but expanded to include sexual exploitation, child labor and trafficking in human organs.

The law imposes life imprisonment if the act was committed by way of fraud, or if accompanied by the use of force or threat of death or serious harm or acts of torture, physical or psychological.

The Act consists of 16 articles on the application of severe sanctions against those who committed the crime of human trafficking, and prison sentences ranging between one year and life imprisonment, and fines ranging between 100 thousand dirhams and one million dirhams


05 May 2010

Life sentence for the last member of human trafficking ring

The Court found that the accused lured the women to the UAE on the promises of job opportunities. However, once they were in the Country he beat and forced them into prostitution.

The convicted was the last one to be arrested from 13 Syrian members ring persecuted early this year in the same case. However, he was outside the UAE and was sentenced in absentia. Once arrested, the same Court revoked its previous judgment and a new judgment with the same sentence was ordered again.

The 13 men arranged employment visas for the women, welcomed them at the airport and provided them with accommodation in villas. Then the women had their passport confiscated, taken captives, beaten, starved and forced into prostitution.

One woman managed to escape and led the police to other captive women. The police caught some of the members as they locked a number of women in a flat.

A week later, two other women escaped and aided by other people they reported the ring to the police, who arrested more accused in another flat. Another member of the ring was caught at the airport.

Police investigations led to another villa, which was raided after a warrant was obtained from the prosecution. There, more captive women were found.

The ring members pleaded guilty to facilitating prostitution and luring women into the Country on the promises of highly paid job opportunities, threatening and forcing them into prostitution.

26 April 2010

Dubai Police intensify battle against human trafficking

Dubai Police Deputy Chief Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina said the increase was due to the significant effort police made to combat human trafficking, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and international organisations.

Figure dropped

In 2006, human trafficking cases were only seven and shot up to 23 in 2007. The figure dropped in 2008 to 18 cases but rose again in 2009 to 23 cases.

Dubai Police said around 88 per cent of the victims were women. Of the 33 victims, 12 per cent were younger than 18, 53 per cent were 19 to 25 and 34 per cent were older than 26. An additional case of attempting to sell a baby was detected in 2009.

There were “absolutely no other cases of human trafficking such as selling of organs and enslavement,” Maj Gen Al Mazeina said.

The majority of victims, around 58 per cent, had come from developing countries with low living standards and had only basic elementary education, he said.

Awareness was the key to fighting human trafficking, he said.

In 2009, 76 suspects were involved in 23 cases. Of those, 21 were committed by more than one suspect; 79 per cent were committed by men and 21 per cent by women.

In 2008 there were 69 suspects involved in 18 cases of human trafficking.

Trafficking monitored

Of those, 14 cases were committed by more than one suspect; 55 per cent by women and 45 per cent by men.

A centre was set up early last year by the Dubai Police to monitor human trafficking, tackle the sex trade and respond to labour violations.

The General Department of Legal and Disciplinary Control Director-General Colonel Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Murr said the centre implemented field studies and training, and acted globally to combat traffickers and provide necessary services for victims.

Maj Gen Al Mazeina said, “Our centre is the first of its kind established among Arab countries to tackle and combat human trafficking”.

“This part of combating crimes requires teams and units specialised in combating human trafficking due to the sophistication and complications of these crimes such as being able to differentiate the nature of the crime from prostitution and providing support to the victim and able to arrest the entire network involved in these crimes,” he said.


It was difficult for prosecutors to identify human trafficking, which could resemble prostitution.

He also called for investigation into how victims could enter the country on residence visas sponsored by UAE nationals.

Maj Gen Al Mazeina said the centre, with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, in 2009 offered 36 victims of human trafficking psychological and legal support.


In 2006, human trafficking cases were only 7 and shot up to 23 cases in 2007. The figure dropped in 2008 to reach 18 cases and went up again in 2009 to 23 cases.

Human trafficking cases in Dubai increased 28 per cent in 2009 over the previous year, with 33 victims forced into prostitution and a case of an infant offered for sale.

Dubai Police Deputy Chief Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina said the increase was due to the significant effort police made to combat human trafficking, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and international organisations.

14 April 2010

EWAA Praises Support by Mohamed bin Zayed

The Board of Directors stressed that the UAE attaches great importance to the situation of women and children in high risk areas, and the country always seeks to adopt initiatives that safeguard the dignity of this segment of society, and to reduce their suffering particularly as this segment is the most affected by disasters and crises, the repercussions of poverty and marginalisation in many regions around the world.

EWAA?s Board also expressed its appreciation for the strong support extended to the shelters by H.H Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, Chairperson of UAE Women’s Federation and honorary Chairperson of the Red Crescent. The Board of Directors highly appreciates the close attention paid by H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the Red Crescent, to the sheltering centres in order to remain current on its role in providing care and protection for victims.

At its meeting yesterday, EWAA?s Boards of Directors, under the chairmanship of Sana?a Darwish Al Ketbi, adviser to H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the Humanitarian Affairs, EWAA Chairman, confirmed that the leadership initiatives support the country?s efforts and strengthens its strategy in its fight against human trafficking and in limiting the exacerbation of suffering of the victims of this type of crime which is entering the country.

The Board of Directors at EWAA discussed at its meeting many themes that promote the role of the centres and which help achieve its objectives in protecting the dignity and humanity of the victims. The Board reviewed areas of coordination and strengthening partnerships with a number of entities and institutions in the country, including the Abu Dhabi Health Authority, Public Prosecution and the Abu Dhabi Police, and the possibility of signing memoranda of understanding with them to determine the frameworks and mechanisms of cooperation.

The meeting was attended by members of the Board; Sarah Ibrahim Shuhail, the Centre’s Managing Director; Abdel-Rahman Al Tunaiji; Dr. Mariam Al Mazrouei, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Aisha Nasser Saeed; Ibrahim al-Tamimi; Suad Al Manaei; and Dr Amal Mahmoud Abdel-Al, member and registrar. The Board reviewed the memorandum of association, the job description, the proposed organisational structure, the financial reports, the mechanisms for accommodating victims within the centres, and the procedures followed in this regard.

Is worth mentioning that H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a resolution to establish EWAA Centres for women and children who are victims of the crime of human trafficking to provide a safe shelter, health and psychological care, and social support for those victims within the country.

According to the resolution, EWAA Centres for women and children is to be established and have legal identity, as well as financial and administrative independence. Its Board of Directors is under the direct supervision of His Highness the President of the Red Crescent, under which the centres will operate. The resolution set out the specialty areas of the Board of Directors of EWAA Centres, the powers of the higher authorities, as well as the administrative and executive authorities.

H.H Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak donated a plot of land in Abu Dhabi for the construction of EWAA Centres. Her Highness also pledged to bear the costs of constructing and equipping the shelter to be a safe haven for women and children who are victims of human trafficking. Additionally, under the directives of H.H General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the government of Abu Dhabi provided financial support worth Dhs8million to operate the shelter and provide the necessary care for the victims and residents.

Sarah Shuhail, Managing Director and Member of the Board of Directors of EWAA Centres stressed that the centres aim to achieve a humanitarian mission to protect women and children who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, to ensure respect for their humanity and dignity, and to alleviate their suffering.

 She also said that the centres seek in particular to provide adequate shelter for women and children and to ensure social, legal, psychological, medical, educational and professional care for them. The centres also seek establishing educational and rehabilitative programmes; integrating women and children with their peers in their local communities or in their home countries; implementing training and rehabilitation programmes; creating awareness of their rights and duties; meeting the needs of the sheltered women and children; solving their problems; protecting their rights; assisting the victims during police investigations; making court appearances; securing the right to defend them; supporting victims in the safe return to their countries to reunite them with their families; and coordinating and cooperating with concerned authorities to attend to the social issues concerning women and children.

15 February 2010

UAE delegation participates in anti human trafficking symposium in Sweden

The forum was organised by the Swedish institute in cooperation with the Suzan Mubarak movement for peace in Stockholm. Several Arab governmental institutions, corporations and organisations took part in the event.

Nakhira said in a statement that UAE participation in such scientific forums and gatherings is significant as the country benefits from experiences and knowledge of advanced countries’ efforts to curb human trafficking. He added that the forum discussed topics on victims of the human trafficking and ways to protect and repatriate them. He added that the event discussed other important issues, among others, gender issues.

He also praised the Swedish’s anti human trafficking policies and programmes, being deemed as a developed country in this field, indicating that and UAE is looking forward to achieving further progress through making use of other countries expertise in this field.

The delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Interior and the UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking and shelter centres. It visited Sweden institutes of anti human trafficking and was briefed on the experiences of these foundations in this area.

On its part, the UAE delegation highlighted the country’s experience in fighting human trafficking menace and the general strategies, problems and obstacles. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

20 January 2010

Seven men get life terms for human trafficking in Abu Dhabi. Six others get 10 years for aiding prostitution

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court also ordered the Syrian men identified as SMA, AAA, AMA, MAA, AMQ, KAA and AAA, to be deported after serving their term.

They lured women to the UAE on the promise of high salaries and career opportunities, but later beat them and forced them into prostitution, according to court records.

Six other Syrian members of the ring were jailed for 10 years to be followed by deportation. They denied the charges of operating a human trafficking ring, but pleaded guilty to facilitating prostitution.

The women hoping for a good job get lured here only to find themselves enslaved in an underworld of prostitution, court records said.

Employment visas

They arranged employment visas for the women, welcomed them at the airport and provided them with luxury accommodation in villas. Then the women had their passport confiscated, put under lock-an-key, beaten, starved and forced into prostitution.

One woman managed to escape and led the police to other captive women, who had been brought over from Morocco.

The police caught some handlers as they locked a number of women in a flat.

A week later, two other women escaped and aided by neighbours they reported the ring to the police, who arrested more captors in another flat. Another member of the ring was caught at the airport as he was trying to flee the country.

Police investigation led to another villa, which was raided after a warrant was obtained from the prosecution. Prosecutors said the defendants violated human rights laws, defamed the country’s reputation, and trafficked women ? enslaving them for money.

The women testified they were intimidated and led to believe their captors were influential and well-connected with the police and other authorities. Lawyers for the defendants claimed the women came knowingly to Abu Dhabi to work as prostitutes.

An official source from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department praised the cooperation among the authorities, saying breaking this big ring of human trafficking attests to the security the emirate enjoys and the experience of its police in dealing with all forms of crimes.

The case is the latest to be tried under federal anti-trafficking legislation introduced in 2006 that specifies life imprisonment and fines of up to Dh1 million.