Despite the fall in human trafficking incidents in the UAE, the crime still poses a big challenge for the authorities, a top official told Gulf News.

Dr Jamal Al Sumaiti, Director General of Dubai Judicial Institute, said UAE was one of the first countries to battle human trafficking crimes in the world by establishing specific laws with tough punishments meted out to traffickers, besides imparting specialised training to people to deal with this type of crime.

“As a result there is a reduction in human trafficking incidents in the country, but it is an organised crime with many challenges involved,” he told Gulf News at a function on Sunday to launch a specialised diploma to combat human trafficking.

According to the latest report by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the UAE, 77 people accused of human trafficking were arrested in the country in 2018 in connection with 30 criminal cases, involving 51 victims.

“Most human trafficking cases registered in the UAE are for sexual exploitation. Traffickers sell women and force them into the sex trade,” he said

As many as 38 students from various police bodies, human rights associations, shelters and federal and local government entities have enrolled for the diploma launched on Sunday.

“It is the fifth diploma since 2015. So far, 110 students have graduated. This year we have three students from Saudi Arabia and two from Bahrain,” Dr Al Sumaiti added.

The anti-human trafficking diploma has been developed by the Human Rights Department at Dubai Police in cooperation with the National Human Rights Committee. The diploma provides practical training, based on the expertise and experience of lecturers.

Channels to seek help

Meanwhile, Major-General Dr Abdul Qudoos Abdul Razzaq Al Obaidly, assistant commander-in-chief for quality and excellence, Dubai Police, said Dubai Police has opened many channels for human trafficking victims to request help or report crimes.

“Dubai Police has managed to fight the crime with our partners and help from the public. Victims can call 901 to get support or approach us through Dubai Police smart application,” Maj Gen Al Obaidly said.

Dubai police said victims can also use smart police stations to report the crime without any human intervention.

“We have created innovative channels to report the crime by using our smart police stations. Victims and labour complaints can be submitted through smart stations,” Maj Gen Al Obaidly added.

Federal Law No 51 of 2006, amended in 2015, provides greater guarantees for victims of human trafficking. The tough punishment against traffickers, which can reach life in jail, has helped contain the crime in the UAE, officials said.

What is human trafficking?

Federal Law No 51 of 2006 defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation or receipt of persons by means of threat or force or by coercion, kidnap, fraud, deceit, abuse of power, exploitation or the offer or receipt of money or inducements to secure the consent of a person who is in control of another for the purpose of exploitation. This includes all forms of sexual abuse, involuntary servitude, mistreatment, coercion and work force abuse, as well as the illegal trading of human organs”.

Victims are not only young girls who fall into the trap of sexual exploitation networks, but also include older women, men and children of all ages, who are exploited in forced labour, sexual exploitation and all other forms of the globally widespread crime.

Human trafficking is often confused with human smuggling, which is the organised, illegal movement of persons across international borders with their consent, in exchange for money. This concept of human smuggling is different, in the eyes of the law, from the other crimes of human trafficking, which fraudulently transfer and use victims in various forms of exploitation without their consent. Unlike smuggling, human trafficking may occur within or outside a state. Because some of the victims are caught in human traffickers’ nets during their search for better job opportunities outside their own country, it is possible that there is an overlap between human smuggling and trafficking crimes when human traffickers target those who seek to illegally get out of their countries.