x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Dubai Police make major inroads into human trafficking

“We can see a noticeable decrease in the number of cases related to human trafficking,” said Maj Gen Abdul Al Obaidli, assistant commander for quality and excellence at Dubai Police.

DUBAI // The number of human-trafficking cases in the emirate almost halved last year, police said Thursday.

And they reported that they were able to recover almost Dh29.7 million in wages owed to workers.

“We can see a noticeable decrease in the number of cases related to human trafficking,” said Maj Gen Abdul Al Obaidli, assistant commander for quality and excellence at Dubai Police.

“There were 35 cases in 2010, and the number decreased to 24 in 2011 and 21 in 2012. Last year there was a considerable decrease in the number of human-trafficking cases as it stood at 11.”

Gen Al Obaidli was addressing an annual conference discussing police performance in battling the crime.

In the 11 cases last year there were 13 victims – a considerable drop from 37 in 2012.

Three of last year’s victims were under 18, three between 19 and 26, and seven were aged 26 or older.

The number of people accused of being involved in trafficking dropped to 28 – including 10 women – from 62 over the same period.

Forty-one men and 21 women were accused in 2012.

“If the numbers are any reassurance, it shows the success of the strategy in combating human trafficking,” Gen Al Obaidli said.

“Dubai Police was quickly notified of these cases and was able to arrest those involved.

“Some have received a sentence of 10 years in jail.”

He stressed that those involved in human-trafficking cases acted individually and were not part of organised criminal gangs.

One case that stuck out last year, police said, was of a young woman who tried to sell her six-month-old for Dh6,000.

The conference heard that the Asian expatriate was caught in an undercover operation.

After being notified that she wanted to sell her child for the original amount, undercover police contacted her, and negotiated the price down to Dh4,000.

The women then met officers in an unmarked police car and was arrested after accepting the cash.

A subsequent police investigation found the woman had been in a sexual relationship with a Pakistani expatriate to whom she was not married.

She was jailed for three years and will be deported after completing her sentence.

The conference also heard that Dubai Police stopped 34 labour strikes last year, a decrease from 45 in 2012.

Of those, 31 were stopped peacefully. Most strikes were because workers said they were not being given their entitlements or being paid on time.

Police were able to recover Dh29,696,541 of wages owed.

There was an increase of complaints from workers last year, at 1,005, compared with 748 in 2012. Of last year’s complaints, 843 were made by individuals and 162 were part of a larger group.

And 426 were from workers who said they had problems being paid.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police also announced the launch of new smart service to help monitor the situations of temporary workers.

“This system will make easier the process of documenting and following up on complaints of union workers,” said Maj Gen Al Obaidli.

“Complaints can be received via hotline, email, or personal presence, following which they will be answered within five working days.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae