He made the remarks during his speech at a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation premises, and was attended by members of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, as well as representatives of foreign diplomatic missions and local and international media. The conference witnessed the announcement of the committee’s 2017 annual report.
Dr. Gargash said that the report clearly reflects the UAE’s efforts and aims to raise the community’s awareness about human trafficking, under the framework of its cooperation with the international community in exchanging information and statistics to adopt the best practices.
He added that the UAE has launched an official campaign to combat this crime, through issuing Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 on Combating Human Trafficking Crimes as amended under Federal Law No. 01 of 2015 to provide better safeguards for victims.
He also highlighted the importance of training employees to combat this crime, through workshops and training courses and exchanging experiences and best practices, while stressing the importance of raising peoples' awareness, who are the most vulnerable to human trafficking. He added that this should be done by educating them about their rights and how to approach official authorities. Over 71 programmes have been in implemented in the UAE, which has benefitted more than 5,939 people, he added.
Dr. Gargash explained the role of the "Tadbeer" centres, which were established by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation through Federal Law No.10 of 2017, on support service workers. The law, also known as Domestic Labour Law offers protection to workers. He pointed out that these centres will contribute significantly to the organisation and control of licenses to bring this category through obtaining accurate data and ensure its safety.
He also affirmed the UAE's determination to combat human trafficking crimes, which is reflected in the commitment of its law enforcement officials to punish human traffickers with force and firmness.
Statistics show that 16 human trafficking cases were registered in 2017, with 10 cases being related to sexual exploitation, and six to the selling of victims. Some 28 victims were helped to get rid of the exploitation of traffickers, and 48 alleged traffickers are facing judiciary.
Relevant courts have issued verdicts in seven cases, while for the nine remaining cases, verdicts are expected to be issued during the current year. Two suspects received life sentences in 2017.
Dr. Gargash stressed the committee’s determination to participate in international meetings related to combatting human trafficking, including the Bali process on human trafficking. He further said the committee has signed six MoUs with other countries, and noted that the UAE hosted the first meeting to activate its MoU with Indonesia.
In September 2017, the UAE declared, during a high-level meeting organised by the United Nations General Assembly in New York, that it will provide US$100,000 to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also organised a graduation ceremony for second and third batches of students of its diploma programme on anti-trafficking to address the crime of human trafficking, which is the first of its kind in the region.
The diploma is one of the committee’s key achievements and was launched in 2015, in cooperation with the Dubai Police, the Dubai Judicial Institute and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The diploma aims to train people from various backgrounds on how to combat human trafficking, by teaching investigative skills to discover these crimes and ways of protecting and rehabilitating victims, as well as national legislation, international conventions and best practices.
At the start of his speech, Dr. Gargash thanked the organisers of the diploma programme and added that the initiative reflects the UAE’s belief in the importance of training people from all relevant sectors to combat human trafficking, to achieve the UAE’s international obligations and implement the committee’s strategy, which is based on five pillars - prevention, legal action, punishment, protecting victims and promoting international cooperation.
Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, said that the Dubai Police has established a centre to monitor human trafficking crimes that are managed by its General Human Rights Administration, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. The centre aims at promoting preventive action and eliminate human trafficking crimes, he added.
During the graduation ceremony, Al Marri announced a new initiative, in cooperation with the committee, titled, "Human Rights Protectors," which aims to train internationally accredited human rights educators and improve their skills and knowledge.
Dr. Hatem Ali, UNODC Representative in the GGC, praised the strategic cooperation between the UNODC office in GCC countries and the committee in exchanging knowledge, tools, policies and international strategies, which has helped develop and promote their work to combat human trafficking.