Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

More than 40 people smuggled into UAE last year

Annual report shows 30 per cent decrease in the number of victims

Abu Dhabi Police arrests a gang for attempting to smuggle 18 men and women hidden under the floor of a lorry driven from Oman into the UAE in September 2019. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Police
Abu Dhabi Police arrests a gang for attempting to smuggle 18 men and women hidden under the floor of a lorry driven from Oman into the UAE in September 2019. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Police

More than 40 people were smuggled into the UAE last year, according to the country's annual human trafficking report.

Released on Thursday, the report showed that prosecutors uncovered 23 cases of human trafficking involving 41 victims last year. This is a 30 per cent decrease from 53 cases recorded in 2018.

Sixty-seven people arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal activity were taken to UAE courts for prosecution.

Those convicted were punished with sentences that ranged from life term to deportation. Some cases are yet ongoing.

The figures were revealed in an annual report compiled by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, which is headed by Dr Anwar Gargash as chairman.

On Thursday, he said the victims were rescued by authorities and given support through an initiative that funds their small projects, helps them complete their education, and ensures they obtain employment so they can become financially independent.

Last year, the committee secured Dh207,500 in financial assistance from the Human Trafficking Victims Support Fund that was set up in 2014 for such cases.

“The fund is considered one of the most important gestures presented by the committee because poverty and need are the main reasons that lead to victims being taken advantage of in such cases,” said Dr Gargash, who is also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

To date, the fund has disbursed Dh970,200 to help victims of human trafficking.

The committee has also signed agreements with countries including the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Thailand to share information to help combat human traffickers.

Last year, 6,209 specialists in the UAE were trained to identify victims of human trafficking.

The committee has been publishing its annual human trafficking report since 2008 in a bid to "highlight the authorities’ efforts in fighting this crime with determination”.

The full report is on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Updated: May 21, 2020 05:14 PM

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