26 March 2015

UAE human trafficking law tightened

Dr Gargash said that the UAE was the first country in the Arab world to implement laws that combat human trafficking.


?The UAE worked to implement laws that stipulate the harshest punishments on those who commit the crime, and the UAE continues to take precautionary measure and keep raising awareness,? he said.


?The amendment to the law shows that the country is serious about cases of human trafficking, whereas it is not simply a frozen [law], but it is being continuously developed.?


He said it is important that countries cooperate to fight this crime, which transcends borders.


Dubai Police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina said that a number of initiatives and programmes have been launched to raise awareness of the crime and to help the victims.


?It?s important that the authorities are aware of any changes to the laws to properly enforce it,? he said.


Brig Mohamad Al Murr, head of the Human Rights Department at Dubai Police, said that the amended law stipulates a minimum fine of Dh100,000 and a minimum of five years in jail.


?The roles played in a human-trafficking crime have been specified in the amended law, which also finds those with intent to sell a human guilty of a human-trafficking crime,? he said. ?To sell a person, put them up for sale, make a promise of sale and buying are all punishable in the same degree under UAE law.


?The amended law also allows for more support for the victims and protection for any eye witnesses.?


Those convicted of withholding information about human trafficking will be fined a minimum of Dh5,000 and serve a one to five-year jail term.


Sara Ibrahim Shuhail, director of the Ewa?a Shelters for Women and Children in Abu Dhabi, said that psychological and financial support is important in rehabilitating victims of human trafficking.


?Most victims are women, who we want to help get back on their feet without falling into the same cycle of human trafficking,? she said, adding that most of these women are uneducated and/or come from poor countries.


?We want to make sure they have the tools to not fall victim to such crimes in their home countries. We also provide them with a sum of money until they are able to take care of themselves and find jobs.?


However, Ms Shuhail said that some women run the risk of getting killed in war-torn countries and that Ewa?a dealt with three such cases last year.


?We were able to rescue three girls, all minors, who were pressured into performing horrible acts,? she said, adding that her organisation was able to help them obtain citizenship for another country.


?We help them travel to safe countries, maybe even get a citizenship and settle down safely.?


Dubai Police recorded six cases of human trafficking in the emirate last year, a decrease from 13 in 2013.