Children are being used to smuggle drugs into UAE

Children are being used to smuggle drugs into UAE
Smugglers attempting to transport drugs into the United Arab Emirates are exploiting young people, in a growing trend attempting to bypass custom officials.
2 min read
09 April, 2017
Drugs are stuffed into soft toys [Getty]

Children as young as 11 are being used to smuggle drugs into the United Arab Emirates, in what customs officers describe as a growing trend.

Drugs are injected into teddy bears and soft toys carried by the children, local paper The National reported on Sunday, suggesting young adults being supervised by the adults are in fact being exploited and put at risk.

"The exploitation of children is among the new tactics used by drug traffickers to facilitate smuggling narcotics into this country," Ibrahim Al Kamali, director of passenger operations at Dubai Customs told The National UAE.

"We continue to see drug mules use extraordinary tactics to bring mostly lyrica and marijuana into the country. Custom officers, aided by police, resort to equally extraordinary techniques to detect and arrest them."

An average of five arrests were made every day last year, figures show, mostly women who had swallowed kilos of packaged drugs that were intended to be retrieved once entry into the Gulf state was made.

In other cases, the drugs were taped onto the children themselves - among the drugs commonly seized by custom officers were Tramadol, Lyrica and Marijuana.

"In the past smugglers have tended to be men, however, customs officers are now seeing a rise in the number of women and children as young as 11," Mr Al Kamali said.

"We’ve had dealt with several cases where children younger than 15-years-old accompanied by their families who were found to be hiding drugs in their clothes, bags or baby strollers.

"I suspect more women and children are probably now involved because of ignorance and their need for money," Mr Al Kamali said.

"Also, the feeling that women and children are less suspicious and might throw the custom inspectors off," he added.