Abu Dhabi: Human trafficking is not only about sexual exploitation, it also involves the illegal trafficking of labourers and organ donors, according to Hatem Fouad Ali from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
On the sidelines of the 1st Gulf Forum for Combating Human Trafficking Crimes, the UNODC senior official referred to the region as one of "the transit destinations for human trafficking", which is categorised as the third largest international criminal practice after drugs and arms.
"The region's stable economy and high international connectivity are all risk factors that sometimes are exploited by human traffickers, Ali said. Human trafficking is not only considered a crime, but a crisis that results in social and economic deficiency," said Ali.
Radio 1/ Radio 2 News: GCC security forces plan anti-trafficking strategies. Feyaza Khan reports:
The UAE Ministry of Interior has introduced several changes to improve labour conditions in the country as well as coordinate with GCC countries, the United Nations, the Interpol and police forces to help prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons.
This has resulted in more human trafficking convictions each year. While 20 human trafficking cases were recorded in the UAE in 2008, 43 cases were registered in 2009 and the figure rose to 46 cases in 2010.
Brigadier Ahmad M.N. Al Muharami, Director, Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior, said combating trafficking requires collaborative effort from the community.
"We are constantly educating our police officers with information on human trafficking, and are well aware of the fact that women, especially those under 18 are victims. However, you and everyone else in this room carry the same responsibility as we do," Al Muharami told Gulf News. "If you witness a case, you must instantly report it."
To report human trafficking cases, you may contact the UAE Red Crescent Society's shelter home Ewa'a hotline number on 800SAVE (8007283) Ewa'a centres are located in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.