The UAE is committed to combating human trafficking and has further implemented a comprehensive legal framework in order to prevent, investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses.
This article aims to discuss the human trafficking laws and the measures taken to combat this crime in the UAE.
The UAE has enacted Federal Law No.51/2006, On combating Human Trafficking Crimes, in order to combat human trafficking in the region.
The law criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and aims to prevent and combat all forms of human trafficking in the UAE. The law defines Human trafficking under Article 1 bis (1) as:
- It shall be deemed to commit a human trafficking crime, by any person who: a- sells, offers or promises to sell or buy persons. b- attracts, employs, recruits, transports, transfers, harbours, hosts, delivers to receives persons, whether from inside the country or through its national borders, by means of threat of or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation c- gives or receives payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of the exploitation of the latter.
- The following acts shall be considered as "human trafficking", even if this does not involve the use of any of the means indicated in the previous paragraph: a- recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation. b- selling or offering to sell or buy a child.
- Exploitation shall include, under the provision of this article, all forms of sexual exploitation or the exploitation of the prostitution of others, forced labour or services, the removal of organs, slavery, begging, or practices like slavery or servitude.
The punishments for human trafficking are entailed under article 2, any person who commits a crime involving human trafficking shall be subject to temporary imprisonment for no less than 5 years and to a fine of at least AED 100,000.
Life Imprisonment: In the UAE a person who has committed the crime of human trafficking, shall be sentenced to Life imprisonment in the following cases:
- If the victim is a child or a disabled person.
- If the act is committed by use of threat of imminent death or serious injury or by physical or mental torture, or if the criminal is armed.
- If the perpetrator has established or administered an organized criminal group or is a member of such group or if he has participated in the acts knowing of its purposes.
- If the perpetrator is the victim's spouse or any ascendant or descendent of the same, or having authority there over.
- If the perpetrator is a public officer or public servant who has abused his position or authority for the commission of the crime.
- If the crime is transnational in nature.
- If the victim is suffering because of the crime, from an incurable disease or a permanent disability.
It must be noted under article 6 (bis) that any person, who publishes, by any means of publication, the names or photos of victims or witnesses involved in human trafficking crimes, shall be sentenced to imprisonment and to a fine of at least AED 10,000 or either one of these two penalties.
Cabinet resolution No. 75 of 2020:
The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), was established by way of this resolution, the committee is responsible for developing policies and programs to prevent and combat human trafficking in the UAE.
Article 3 of the resolution lays out the following responsibilities and functions of the committee.
- To study and update the legislations governing the issues related to human trafficking in a way achieving the required protection as per the international requirements.
- To prepare reports on the measures taken by the State to combat human trafficking in coordination with the concerned entities at the State.
- To study the reports related to human trafficking and take necessary action in their regard.
- To coordinate with the various concerned entities at the State, such as Ministries, Departments, institutions and authorities concerning combating human trafficking and follow the actions taken in this regard
- To raise awareness about human trafficking by organizing conferences, seminars, publications, training and other in a way achieving the objectives of the Committee.
- To participate with the concerned entities at the State in the international conferences and forums on combating human trafficking and transfer the point of view of the State in these international forums.
- To carry out any works assigned to it in this regard.
The NCCHT developed the 5 P's approach which stands for prevention of human trafficking, prosecution and punishment of the traffickers, protection of survivors and promotion of international cooperation. This approach has been the guiding force in combating human trafficking in the UAE.
The UAE has established shelters and rehabilitation centers to provide assistance and protection to the victims of human trafficking. These shelters offer a safe haven for victims, where they can receive medical care and counseling. The victims are also provided with legal aid to pursue justice and compensation.
At present the UAE maintains a network of shelters namely, EWAA shelters which is established in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai foundation for women and children (DFWAC) and Aman shelter for women and children located in Ras Al Khaimah, these shelters are equipped with modern facilities, including medical facilities, educational and training facilities, and recreational facilities. They provide a supportive and wholesome environment where the victims can heal and rebuild their lives after being rescued from human trafficking.
In addition, the UAE government runs a 24-hour hotline that promotes reporting of human trafficking by the public.
In conclusion, human trafficking is a serious crime that threatens the safety and dignity of the individuals and the UAE has made significant efforts to combat this crime by raising awareness and implementing a comprehensive legal framework that prevents, investigates, prosecutes human trafficking offences and provides protection to the victims.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.