181201 human traficking
Fake ads on social media is one example of how victims are lured online, the campaign says. Graphic used for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Muhammed Nahas/©Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) joined the world in marking 'World Day against Trafficking in Persons' (July 30) by launching an awareness-raising campaign.

Themed ‘Human Trafficking in the Digital Space’, the initiative aims to educate people about human trafficking crimes and bring attention to the suffering of victims and protect their rights.

The move comes as a part of a series of programmes launched by DFWAC to protect children and women’s rights and enhance public awareness of the dangers that can arise from abuse or trafficking in women and children.

Digital threats

The campaign has warned against the potential hazards of the digital space and current technologies that lack family control, allowing them to be used to entice children and women either by employing video technology to broadcast services, announcing fake job ads, or luring and deceiving people through social media and internet pages.

Shaikha Saeed Almansouri

Speaking on the occasion, Shaikha Saeed Almansouri, acting director-general of DFWAC, said the campaign aims to raise public awareness of human trafficking crimes while also supporting the UAE’s ongoing efforts to curb its dangers all around the world. It also comes in compliance with the UAE’s national strategies aimed at eradicating injustice that victims are suffering from due to this scourge, which does not exist in the UAE, she added.

“The changes taking place all over the world, along with the global expansion in the use of digital space, especially during the spread of COVID-19, have doubled the challenges and risks of human trafficking crimes on the internet and digital platforms, which have become an indispensable platform for pushing dubious ads to lure and traffic in children and women,” Almansouri said.

Preventive steps

She emphasised the importance of enhancing trust between parents and children and strengthening positive family control over the content and platforms that their children are following in order to protect them from being victimised by criminal groups, calling on women to ensure the credibility of online job ads before applying to avoid being deceived by human traffickers.

The campaign focused on several issues that need to be brought to people’s attention, including ‘How to protect yourself from online exploitation’, ‘Beware of weird add-on requests’, ‘Do not disclose your privacy through the digital space’, ‘Beware of fake job ads and ensure their reliability to avoid falling victims to scams’, and ‘Report suspicious ads and do not share them’.

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Low prevalence

According to the campaign, the UAE has reported a low prevalence of child and female exploitation, citing official statistics from the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, which was published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It revealed that the country recorded the lowest rates of human trafficking crimes, with five incidents of exploitation through social media platforms being reported between 2004 and 2006, involving 39 victims, while the nation reported 27 cases between 2016 and 2018, affecting 160 victims.