x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Arrests made in human trafficking ring

Police have arrested 11 people in Dubai over a human trafficking ring that saw a girl as young as 16 forced into prostitution.

Police have arrested 11 people in Dubai over a human trafficking ring that saw a girl as young as 16 forced into prostitution. An Arab man and his partner were charged with trafficking, running a brothel and forcing women into prostitution through violence and intimidation. Another nine women were charged with working in their brothel, while two underage girls were taken in by police but not charged. They are now being cared for as victims of trafficking. An official with the Department of Naturalisation and Residency is also being investigated by the Ministry of Interior over claims he forged the women's visas, often describing them as relatives to the Arab man, and turning a blind eye to violations. The DNRD official's case has been referred to the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi as it violated "national security" and constituted an unprecedented dereliction of duty, according to Amar al Danhani, the public prosecutor. "The Public Prosecution will do its utmost to combat and fight human trafficking," said Mr al Danhani. "We brought them to the court on charges of trafficking in human beings in a reference to the fact that the Public Prosecution will punish the perpetrators and apply the full force of the law strongly on them and focus on the victims of these crimes." The DNRD official is believed to have accepted bribes from the Arab man and forged legal documents. "In the case of the 16-year-old, the man had her on a visa as his daughter and reported her as an absconder with the DNRD," said Mr al Danhani. The case was referred to the Public Prosecution following an investigation by senior DNRD officials that noticed irregularities visa violations in the folder of the Arab man. The public prosecution issued an arrest warrant and police raided the residence which was being used by the Arab man as a brothel. "The two underage girls where released and are now being cared for as they were considered trafficked, the Arab man and partner are on charges of human trafficking and the others are on charge of prostitution because they were not under age," said Mr al Danhani. The news of the arrests comes on the day the full second annual report by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) was released, detailing efforts taken over the past year against the illegal trade. It claimed significant progress was made last year in the fight against human trafficking, but "much more needs to be done", according to a new Government report on efforts to combat the crime. shafez@thenational.ae zconstantine@thenational.ae