x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Woman accused of trying to sell baby for Dh10,000

Police officer pretended to be potential buyer in 'sting' operation to catch maid trying to sell another's child.

DUBAI // A woman who allegedly tried to sell another's baby has been charged with human trafficking offences. The Asian woman, HS, who it is claimed attempted to sell the two-month-old infant for Dh10,000 (US$2,700), was arrested during a "sting" operation this month, Dubai Police said. She is being held in custody. NM, the mother of the baby, who was born out of wedlock, had been trying to place it with a foster family, officials said.

NM had given birth at home. The baby was not officially registered, and she wanted to find an Emirati foster family to look after it, according to police records. She sought help from HS, police said, who convinced her that she could find the right candidate. The mother said she did not know that HS had intended to sell the baby. HS confirmed this when questioned by officers, police said. Lt Col Abdul Raheem Mohammed, the head of the Organised Crime Department at Dubai Police, said the department received information about a woman looking for a family interested in purchasing a child.

"Once we received the tip, we immediately assigned a team from the anti-trafficking department, and they sent an undercover female officer to pretend that she was interested in buying the baby," Lt Col Mohammed said. HS, who police said was working illegally as a maid, was arrested in the sting after she agreed to sell the baby for Dh10,000, according to police records. NM, who police said had also been working illegally as a maid, is being held on charges of having an illicit affair and is in custody at a detention centre with the child.

The arrests are the latest in a series of human trafficking-related cases across the country. They follow a report released in May by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) that called for a crackdown on human traffickers, better support for victims and greater international co-operation. "The fight against human trafficking is our fight and a goal we share with all responsible nations," Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and chairman of the NCCHT, said in the report.

"We have accomplished a lot in a short span of time, but we will continue to remain committed to consistently improving our efforts to tackle this crime." Col Mohammed al Mur, the director general of the Dubai Police general department of legal and disciplinary control, which includes the centre for monitoring human trafficking, said the latest arrest was in line with the national strategy drawn up by the NCCHT.

"Since the issuing of the anti-trafficking law [in 2006], both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice have been trying to train their human resources on how to deal with human trafficking cases and these efforts in this field are continuing," Col al Mur said. The US State Department placed the UAE in its second-tier list of countries with a poor record on human trafficking, along with 76 other countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and India.

At a meeting yesterday, the US ambassador to the UAE discussed Dubai Police's efforts to tackle human trafficking with officials from the force. @Email:wissa@thenational.ae