Ewaa shelters are considered the official body in the UAE to receive and house victims of human trafficking from the relevant national entities, including police departments and public prosecution. The shelters provide first aid, support, and a safe refuge for victims.
Shuhail pointed out that the victims receive medical and psychological care from Ewaa Partners once they arrive at the shelters, in order to cope with their health issues and psychological traumas. Victims also get legal support, which helps them focus more on healing and rehabilitation process.
Prevention of human trafficking is one of Ewaa?s main objectives, and this is carried out jointly with partners and stakeholder entities.
Rehabilitation varies significantly from one victim to another. Ewaa offers a wide variety of activities that guide the victims in their way back to normal life, as these activities help them recover from their terrible experience.
Speaking about the number of Ewaa shelters in the UAE, Shuhail pointed out that ?there is one shelter dedicated to women and children, and another for male victims? in Abu Dhabi, adding that the need for other shelters in other emirates is not because of the large number of victims, as the Abu Dhabi facility can house 60 victims at the same time. Yet, the other shelters are often needed due to the investigation procedures in distant emirates.
Regarding the kind of support provided by the shelters to the victims, the General Director of Ewaa said that support and services offered to human trafficking victims pass through 3 stages: the first one is before actual sheltering, and it is provided via the hotline, the website, participation in the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking?s awareness campaigns, ease of communication, funding the centers, and receiving the victims. As for the second stage, it involves assisted living services, health-related services, social and psychological rehabilitation, training sessions, and monitoring legal cases with official bodies. And finally the third stage is when the victim voluntarily leaves the shelter. This stage involves communication with similar centers in the victim?s country, offering financial aid and job opportunities, and finally the victim?s departure.
Shuhail unveiled the number of victims received by Ewaa shelters in 2016, saying that there was a significant drop this year as the facility received 14 victims; 10 from Asia, 3 Africans, and only 1 victim from East Europe.
It is worth noting that Ewaa shelters received about 17 human trafficking victims in 2015, 17 in 2014, 23 in 2013, 24 in 2012, 43 in 2011, and hit a record of 71 victims in 2010, after receiving only 38 in 2009.
She said that the number of victims is constantly diminishing due to the concerted efforts of the UAE to fight this crime through the national anti-trafficking bodies.