The United Arab Emirates, led by its President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has a strong interest in human rights issues most particularly the phenomenon of human trafficking, which has become a worldwide criminal epidemic.
Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 was the start of official UAE initiatives to combat the phenomenon locally, and enhance the UAE’s role in world initiatives aimed at eliminating human trafficking crimes.
To support and apply this law, the Ewa'a Shelters for victims of human trafficking have been established, as a result of the government plans and initiatives in combatting human trafficking.
This step has been followed by many other initiatives to protect human rights and combat of all forms of human trafficking crimes.
National Committee for Combatting Human Trafficking
The National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking has been established to co-ordinate the efforts through the Emirates and the enforcement of Federal Law No. 51. Since its establishment, the Committee has sought to achieve its aims through many initiatives and activities including the staging of specialised meetings, visits and workshops. Today, it is seen as the UAE’s official representative at international conferences relating to combating human trafficking.
Annual report on human trafficking combatting
Each year, the National Committee on Combatting Human Trafficking publishes a report about human trafficking highlighting the country’s achievements and initiatives in combating human trafficking crimes.
Enhancement of judicial work covering the fight against human trafficking
The UAE government constantly works on enhancing the scope of application of human trafficking laws, in co-operation with the relevant authorities in the country, such as the Department of Immigration and Residence, Police, Jurisdiction, and Public Prosecution. Recent reports show many cases relating to human trafficking have been registered and many have subsequently been imprisoned for their involvement.
Monitoring cases of immigration and passports
The UAE has its own system of monitoring immigration and passport issue in connection with human trafficking. This system depends on laws relating to the entry and residence of foreigners. This includes the strict application of procedures for the entry of children. The system uses the most up-to-date technology, such as eye scan to seize suspects, strict procedures for obtaining visit visas, and of monitoring the entry of women from countries that register the highest percentages of female trafficking by sexual exploitation networks.
The UAE has legislation that supports the rights of unskilled labour, which includes protection of labourers rights and protection against exploitation. This includes the deposit of unskilled labourers’ monthly salaries in the labourer’s own bank account, assuring that all labourers obtain their monthly salaries without delay, taking legal action against companies that exploit labourers and breach their rights and legal requirements covering specific standards of living and work environments. In accordance with the Council of Ministers' Resolution of October 2007, steps are being taken to formulate a new labour law concerning house servants to guarantee protection of their rights and combat exploitation.
Victim Support & Care
State efforts does not stop at the issuance of laws relating to the combat of human trafficking, enhancement of other relevant laws and co-ordination with the concerned authorities. The UAE Government pays special attention to human trafficking victims. Under the auspices of the Crimes Victims Assistance Programme, the UAE provides shelters and care for victims until they leave the country. The Ewa'a Shelters for women and child is one of these initiatives.
Camel riding children support
Immediately after recognising the extent to which children were exploited by being coerced into the traditional sport of camel racing, the UAE hastened established strict rules governing the sport, which prevented the use of children in its events, and facilitated the return of the children to their homeland. The UAE co-operated with the United National Children's Fund (UNICEF) to provide the care necessary to rehabilitate the children. These procedures resulted in the return of 1,077 child jockeys to their homes in Asia and Africa. The finance came through the Camel Racing Child Rehabilitation Programme.
Social Support Centre in Abu Dhabi
This centre is under the supervision of Abu Dhabi Police, and looks after crime victims, including human trafficking victims. It renders all necessary victim support in co-ordination and co-operation with various relevant institutions.
Dubai Charitable Establishment for the Care of Women and Children
This establishment specialises in sheltering and caring for crime victims, including human trafficking victims. It was set up in 2007, and plays an essential role in rendering the best social services to the victims by providing them with a safe shelter which helps them overcome the psychological and physical effects of violence and oppression. The Establishment seeks, in co-operation with many European establishments, to operate to the highest international standards.
General Directorate for Human Rights Protection in Dubai
The Directorate works under the supervision of Dubai Police, and provides psychological, social and legal support to women and children who are victims of human trafficking. The Directorate provides victims with support such as temporary shelter, temporary visas and air tickets to return to their homelands.