02 September 2020

UAE Participates in the Regional Meeting on Best Practices for Protection and Assistance of Human Trafficking Victims During COVID 19 Crisis

Dr. Mogheer Al Khaili, Head of Department of Community Development; Dr. Hatem Ali, Regional Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the GCCs; her Excellency Sara Shuhail, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Shelter and Humanitarian Care Centre (Ewa?a) and their Excellencies and Highnesses attendees from KSA, Bahrain and Sultanate of Oman were present at the meeting. Tackling the best applicable practices, the meeting discussed the impact of Corona Virus crisis on measures to protect victims of human trafficking. Presenting past experiences of the participating countries, the attendees exchanged experiences in protecting and assisting victims of human trafficking.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Dr. Mogheer Al Khaili welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of the meeting, praising the humanitarian efforts of participating institutions and the positive impact on individuals and communities. Dr. Hatem also welcomed the attendees and thanked the UAE for the generous hosting of the meeting.

Her Excellency Sara Shuhail, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Shelter and Humanitarian Care Centre (Ewa?a) welcomed the attendees and highlighted the UAE?s experience in protecting and supporting human trafficking victims, and fighting Corona pandemic, noting that the (Ewaa) Center, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, as well as Aman Center for Women and Children implemented the government?s strategy to combat the pandemic. She also noted that many initiatives were implemented and had effective impact in terms of providing protection to victims, including ?Communication Brings us Together?, that has been implemented by Ewaa Center since the beginning of the pandemic, by providing regular visual communication between the victims and their families in their home countries. Her Excellency also said that Corona testing is routinely provided to victims, in cooperation with the Health Authority, and that all preventive measures are followed inside the Center. According to Shuhail, the Center’s rehabilitation programs and hotline service never ceased to exist. She also referred to the financial support provided by the Center to the victims since the beginning of the pandemic which caused the breadwinners of some families to lose their jobs and become unable to meet the needs of their families.

Moreover, Shuhail presented initiatives of Dubai Foundation of Women and Children during Corona pandemic, such as the preventive measures to protect victims, the awareness raising campaigns on social media and delivering lectures e.g. ?Corona Time Work Stress and Back-to-Work Anxiety?, ?Play-based Treatment for Children at Times of Crises and Disasters? and ?Distance Psychological First Aid?. She discussed the efforts of ?Aman Center for Women and Children in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah during the pandemic, including strengthening precautionary and preventive measures to combat the spread of COVID 19, such as the need to conduct a medical test for victims before referring them to the Center, and raising awareness of the disease and ways to prevent it from spreading among the Center?s employees and victims.

In his speech, Mr. Mohanad Al Dowaicat, Expert of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reviewed the procedures for protecting and assisting human trafficking victims according to the protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Human Trafficking, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2000 and linking it to the national framework.

His Excellency Usama Al Absi, Chairman of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking and the CEO of the Labor Market Regulatory Authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain presented the Kingdom?s experience in facing the pandemic and protecting the victims. Also, Sultanate of Oman presented its experience in protecting and supporting victims of human trafficking during COVID 19 crisis.