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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

'Human trafficker' accused of exploiting beggars with special needs to face trial in landmark UAE case

Asian national accused of coercing 15 male victims into begging 

Dr Anwar Gargash pictured speaking at the Emirates Policy Centre. Navin Kianey / The National
Dr Anwar Gargash pictured speaking at the Emirates Policy Centre. Navin Kianey / The National

A UAE court is to prosecute a man accused of using people with special needs as beggars in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.

The alleged human trafficker operated in Sharjah and was from an undisclosed country in Asia.

A post on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Wednesday said the case involved 15 male victims.

It's believed that the 15 had been coerced into begging.

Further details were not immediately available but Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, praised the efforts made by agencies to uncover the case.

The minister said the case followed efforts made by the UAE to tackle the issue, such as the implementation of the strategy of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking. The committee was established in 2007. Mr Gargash stressed that the UAE will take all measures to protect victims and bring the perpetrators justice.

UAE laws are in line with the United Nations 'Palermo protocol'.

The UAE signed up to the protocol in 2009 and it aims to "prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children". It also provides for severe penalties on human traffickers once their crimes are linked to victims who are children or disabled persons

The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking is closely following the case to provide support, it said.

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