”The UAE’s official campaign against human trafficking has entered its seventh year. The process began with the enactment of Federal Law 51 in 2006 and the establishment of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) in 2007. The results of the last six years suggest that the government has made significant and rapid progress. Despite this constructive and encouraging outcome, the UAE is aware that multiple and interlinked challenges associated with such criminal behaviour requires sustained alert. As a result, the government is determined to not only thwart the prevailing means of exploitation, but also improve the detection and prosecution tools of this crime in future.
“While only 10 cases were reported in 2007, the figure doubled to 20 cases in 2008, went up to 43 in 2009, 58 in 2010, reduced to 37 in 2011 and increased to 47 in 2012,” he explained.
Overall, he noted, the numbers indicate both growing awareness about human trafficking among the public and intensifying counter-measures adopted by the government. More importantly, the government agencies are becoming increasingly successful in disrupting the activities of several criminals and groups involved in human trafficking.
“The measures adopted by the UAE against such crimes are established on the foundations of legal mechanisms and social support, and implemented in coordination with a number of relevant institutions. Based on the constructive criticism and support from our partners and the international community, the UAE is determined to take forward its programmes on combating human trafficking,” he added.
In the speech that was addressed by Dr Abdul Rahim Al Awadi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, on behalf of Dr Gargash, said the UAE is implementing a major programme in 2013 to expand awareness about combating human trafficking at airports, including Dubai Airport terminals. As part of this plan, the country will host some events related to the Arab initiative to build the capacity of workers in the field of combating human trafficking.
Quoting official reports, the Minister said the Public Prosecution transferred to the judiciary 47 cases on human trafficking, involving 149 accused and 75 victims, in which there were 31 convictions involving 91 accused.
Describing the report as the first of its kind as per the new national strategy endorsed by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in 2012, he said it was based on ?Five Ps? of prevention, prosecution, punishment, protection and promotion (of international co-operation), and in line with the international best practices in this field.
“The UAE has taken major steps to control human trafficking through the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking with the amendment of the Federal Law No. 51 which has made it possible to better safeguard the victims in accordance with the Palermo Protocol ratified by the UAE in 2009,” he said.
All along, the UAE’s efforts have been proactive, which included broad steps such as presenting a comprehensive periodic human rights report before a panel in Geneva, and working to facilitate the visit of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, the Minister added.
The annual report is part of a new approach that the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking seeks to achieve in order to exchange best practices and information with members of the international community, and to highlight its efforts to limit these crimes.
Applauding the international efforts to fight human trafficking, Dr Gargash said the UAE is fully aware of the multiple challenges and complexities facing the countries and governments around the world in tackling such crimes. He said the UAE is determined to address all the concerns related to this issue and will maintain a constructive dialogue with all the members of the international community to eliminate human trafficking.
This report is part of the attempt by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking to share information with the general public and international community, and highlight the UAE’s stance on this issue, record progress, identify obstacles and challenges encountered during the last year, and spell out future initiatives. The report also aims to measure the progress of the UAE in the long run and serve as a channel to promote dialogue and transparency in information exchange at the international level.