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Monday, September 25, 2023

Human Trafficking in the UAE – What You Need to Know


The UAE is committed to combating human trafficking and has further implemented a comprehensive legal framework to prevent, investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes.

The purpose of this article is to discuss human trafficking laws in the UAE and the measures being taken to combat this crime.

The UAE has enacted Federal Law No. 51/2006 on Combating the Crime of Human Trafficking to combat human trafficking in the region.

The law criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and aims to prevent and combat all forms of human trafficking in the UAE. The law defines human trafficking in Article 1bis(1) as:

  1. Any person shall be considered guilty of human trafficking if he: a- sells, offers or promises to sell or buy a human being. b- Attract, hire, recruit, transport, divert, port, host, deliver recipients by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, whether from within the country or across national borders, c- For exploitative purposes Fraud, deceit, abuse of power or exploitation of a position of vulnerability c- Giving or accepting a payment or benefit in order to gain control over another person for the purpose of exploiting the latter.
  2. The following shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if they do not involve the use of any of the means described in the preceding paragraph: a- Recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving children for the purpose of exploitation. b- Selling or offering to sell or buy a child.
  3. According to this article, exploitation shall include all forms of sexual exploitation or exploitation of the prostitution of another person, forced labor or services, removal of organs, slavery, begging or practices similar to slavery or servitude.


Penalties for Human Trafficking According to Article 2, anyone who commits a crime involving human trafficking shall be punished with a provisional imprisonment of not less than 5 years and a fine of at least Dh100,000.

life imprisonment: In the UAE, a person convicted of human trafficking shall be sentenced to life imprisonment in the following cases:

  1. If the victim is a child or a disabled person.
  2. If the act is committed by threatening imminent death or serious injury or by physical or mental torture, or if the criminal is carrying a weapon.
  3. If the perpetrator established or managed an organized criminal group, or was a member of such a group, or if he participated in acts knowing its purpose.
  4. If the perpetrator is, or has authority over, the spouse of the victim or any of his immediate family or descendants.
  5. If the offender is a public official or civil servant, abuse of power or authority to commit the crime.
  6. If the crime is transnational in nature.
  7. If the victim is terminally ill or permanently disabled as a result of the crime.

It must be noted that under Article 6 bis, anyone who publishes in any publication the names or photographs of victims or witnesses involved in the crime of human trafficking shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of at least Dh. 10,000 or one of these two penalties.

Cabinet Resolution No. 75 of 2020:

The Resolution established the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), which is responsible for formulating policies and programs to prevent and combat human trafficking in the UAE.

Article III of the resolution stipulates the following duties and functions of the Committee.

  1. Research and update legislation governing issues related to human trafficking to achieve the required protections in line with international requirements.
  2. Prepare reports on national measures to combat human trafficking in coordination with relevant national entities.
  3. Research reports on human trafficking and take necessary action.
  4. Coordinate with relevant national entities (e.g. ministries, departments, agencies and authorities) to combat human trafficking and track actions taken in this regard
  5. Raise awareness of human trafficking by organizing conferences, seminars, publications, training, and other means to achieve the Committee’s objectives.
  6. Participate with relevant national entities in international conferences and forums to combat human trafficking and convey the national perspective in these international forums.
  7. Carry out any work assigned to it in this regard.

NCCHT has developed a 5P approach of preventing human trafficking, prosecuting and punishing traffickers, protecting survivors, and promoting international cooperation. This approach has been a guiding force in the fight against human trafficking in the UAE.

The UAE has established shelters and rehabilitation centers to provide assistance and protection to victims of human trafficking. These shelters provide victims with a safe haven where they can receive medical care and counseling. Victims also receive legal aid to seek justice and reparation.

Currently, the UAE has a network of shelters, namely the EWAA Shelter in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC), and the Aman Shelter for Women and Children in Ras Al Khaimah, all of which are equipped with modern facilities. Including medical facilities, education and training facilities, entertainment facilities. They provide a supportive and healthy environment where victims can heal and rebuild their lives after being rescued from human trafficking.

In addition, the UAE government has launched a 24-hour hotline to facilitate public reporting of human trafficking.

In summary, human trafficking is a serious crime that threatens the safety and dignity of individuals and the UAE is combating this crime by raising awareness and implementing a comprehensive legal framework to prevent, investigate, prosecute and provide protection to victims of human trafficking crimes.


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