Human trafficking cases down 37%, says UAE gov't

Gulf state said tackling problem of trafficked people was of “paramount importance”

The number of workers illegally trafficked into the UAE dropped by 37 percent last year, according to a report by the state news agency.

While the WAM report did not give exact figures for the number of people trafficked into the Gulf state, it said tackling the subject was a major priority for the government.

“For the majority of trafficked people, it is only when they arrive in the UAE that they realise that the work they were promised does not exist and they are forced instead to get employed in jobs or conditions to which they did not give their consent. Since the criminal activity begins from source countries, creating partnerships with both source and transit countries is now of paramount importance to the national strategy of the UAE,'' the government's report on the issue read.

The investigation, compiled by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, added that “the implementation of the UAE's legal and social support mechanisms during the last five years of its concerted fight against human trafficking has been recognised by the international community".

Despite the positive results in the UAE, a US State Department report last year said the fight against human trafficking, from abuses of migrant workers to organised prostitution networks, has lost ground in the past year.

The number of countries failing to comply with international standards to prevent human trafficking almost doubled to 23, according to US State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report released in June.

“The problem of modern trafficking may be entrenched, and it may seem like there is no end in sight,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement accompanying the report.

“But if we act on the laws that have been passed and the commitments that have been made, it is solvable.”

As many as 27m people are “living in a state of modern slavery,” she said.

Eleven countries have dropped into so-called Tier 3, those with the poorest record of fighting trafficking, joining 12 nations previously listed in that category under guidelines set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

The 11 countries are: Lebanon, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Micronesia, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.

They join nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia with the poorest records on taking action to prevent human trafficking.

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