Legislators around the world are combating human trafficking, yet waiting eagerly for this affray to end. UAE, among other countries striving to secure and safeguard the victims of human trafficking since early 2000. of UAE hereby addresses this issue through this article and will discuss the laws of UAE criminalizing the offenders of human trafficking.
Federal Law Number 51 of 2006 as recently amended by Federal Law Number 1 of 2015 concerning the combat against Human Trafficking (the Law), imposes criminal punishments for offenders of human trafficking. The Law defines human trafficking as follows:
“The recruitment, transportation or accepting humans by means of force, coercion, threat, kidnapping, deceit, fraud, exploitation, abuse of power or offer by way of money or other inducements to seek consent from the person who is in control of another person for the purpose of exploitation. It may include sexual abuse, mistreatment, coercion, involuntary servitude, labour force and illegal trading of human organs.”
Trafficking is flourishing business worldwide that creates billions of dollars every year stimulating trafficking of millions of people internationally. It has a direct nexus with other crimes such as money laundering, drug dealing and smuggling of humans. Victims of these criminal acts are not just minor women; this wave covers all regardless of age and gender. Human traffickers generally target the most vulnerable group of individuals, for instance, poor, uneducated and girls from different families explicitly for forced labour or sexual abuse. Unlike early times, big hotel industries, factories, financial institutions, banks, multi-national companies are directly or indirectly indulged in such criminal activities.
Parameters of UAE Law
The Human Trafficking Law is first of its kind in this jurisdiction, explicitly criminalizing the offenders for human trafficking in UAE. The court under the said law can impose life imprisonment if the crime is committed with deceit, fraud and threat to injure or murder the victim. On the other hand, Article 16 of the Law imposes hefty fines and imprisonment ranging from AED 100,000 to 1 million dirhams and one year to life imprisonment.
Further, Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 concerning the Penal Code criminalizes the establishment and management of prostitution hubs and lays down punishment for the same. Apart from the foregoing, Federal Law Number 39 of2006 which provides for judicial cooperation between two countries to extradite criminals suspected in such grave offences.
In 2007, the UAE National Committee was incorporated to combat human trafficking. The members of the committee include a representatives of foreign affairs, labour ministry, social affairs, and ministry of interior, public prosecutors and members of law enforcement. The committee has the responsibility to perform the following duties:
a. Comprehending the legislation concerning human trafficking and suggesting adequate revisions;
b. Drafting reports as an effective tool to combat human trafficking;
c. Coordinating with other institutes to suggest ways for combatting with such criminal activities;
d. Promoting public awareness;
e. Attending international conferences discussing the aspects of human trafficking and rules to strengthen UAE legislation.
How to Support Victims?
It is the duty of UAE legislators to give a face to this unequivocal legislation in order to ensure faith in the legislation and the committee. UAE legislators have undertaken numerous incentives such as welfare programs to support the victims of human trafficking by way of forced labour or prostitution. The legislature completely trusts that the individuals who are explicitly misused must be treated as victims, secured and upheld through guiding and restoration programs. In the meantime, whoever drove the concerned individual into prostitution or forced labour will be strictly punished under the UAE law.
On an international front, UAE has signed numerous bilateral treaties with labour exporting countries such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Philippines and Thailand in order to process the smooth flow of labour with a clear track record. Further, to prevent such criminal activities, all the contract of labour is issued by the Ministry of Labor without relying on private institutions.
The country has gained critical progress in a brief timeframe, yet understands that a considerable amount of work is to be done, and is prepared to advance systematically and deliberately to end this misuse of human life and pride.