The UAE is in the forefront globally in confronting the crime of human trafficking, and it has faced six such cases this year alone and has addressed them effectively, according to Michael Newson of the International Organisation for Migration and Development, Cairo.
The country also has a number of projects to fight the menace, he said, while speaking at the two-day Conference on Combating Human Trafficking which opened in Dubai on Tuesday.
Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, announced the launch of a specialised diploma course in anti-human trafficking from next year. The course is being launched by the Dubai Police in association with the Dubai Judicial Institute. All personnel who work in the field of anti-human trafficking may join the course and obtain the diploma.
The conference, which is being organised by the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, Dubai Police and Labour Ministry, focused on the crime and the role of placement and labour recruitment agencies in addressing the problem. It aims at identifying the nature of human trafficking, its magnitude at the international and local levels, and seeking solutions.
Officials from the UAE and their foreign counterparts working in combating the dangerous crime and International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other relevant bodies are taking part.
In his inaugural speech, Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour, said the ministry established a section to fight human trafficking in 2010. "The section stems from the ministry's systematic approach which is designed to galvanise all resources for the protection of workers and ensure their material, moral and personal rights through developing an invigorated monitoring and executive mechanisms supporting the work of the inspection sector to curb the practices which might affect the stability of the labour market,” he said.
The ministry, he said, implements the initiatives which provide protection for the employees and create a decent labour environment that contributes to curbing human trafficking. On top of these is the wage protection system (WPS), which is regarded as one of the crucial tools for monitoring the labour market.
"The WPS has contributed, to a great extent, to the stability of labour relations and creating a safe environment for work,” he added.
The first session at the conference, chaired by Dr Ibrahim Al Abid, Director-General of the National Media Council (NMC), started with a speech by Humaid bin Demas, Undersecretary of the Labour Ministry, who cast light on the labour market policies for combating forced labour and human trafficking.
Bin Demas reviewed the policy of the ministry which endeavours to prevent the exploitation of workers, and said 75,000 workers had lodged complaints last year.
Saeed bin Umair Al Ghafli, Assistant Undersecretary for the Federal National Council Affairs and the rapporteur of the National Committee for combating Human Trafficking, said the UAE has laid down laws and legislation to combat the crime. The punishment varied between one year in jail to life imprisonment if the suspects is proven guilty.
He also gave out the figures of human trafficking cases in the UAE. From 10 cases in 2007, the number increased to 20 in 2008, 43 in 2009, 58 in 2010, 37 in 2011, 47 in 2012, and 19 in 2013 in which 50 suspects were involved with 24 victims. In view of the development, shelters to house victims and centres to rehabilitate them were set up in the country.
Beate Andreas, chairperson of the special programme to combat forced labour at the ILO, meanwhile, called on the UAE to join and sign the related international initiatives and partnerships with a number of organisations and countries to raise the standard of awareness.
Source: Khaleej Times