UAE human traffickers arrests 'doubled' last year

UAE human traffickers arrests 'doubled' last year
The UAE has said it is clamping down on human trafficking in the Gulf state with a spate of arrests last year against people and drug smugglers.
2 min read
17 May, 2017
The minister of state for foreign affairs announced the figures found in a report [AFP]

UAE police arrested 106 human traffickers last year, an official said, almost double the number from 2015 as Abu Dhabi attempts to curb people smuggling in the Gulf state.

The cases involved 34 victims, all of whom were women, and the majority of which were related to sexual exploitation. Three cases were connected to the selling of children, local Gulf News reported.

"The UAE has made significant progress in combating human trafficking in a short period, but realises that much more needs to be done, and is ready to move ahead constructively and systematically," Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said.

The announcement was made during the launch of the 2016 anti-human trafficking report earlier this week.

"The UAE is approaching the human trafficking problem not only as a domestic challenge that violates Islamic values and opposes Arab culture and social values, but also as an international challenge that requires concerted efforts to address," Gargash, who is also chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), added.

Convictions have been made in nine of the 25 cases, resulting in jail sentences of between one year to life imprisonment, according to the NCCHT.

Last month, authorities said criminals are also using children to smuggle drugs into the UAE.

Drugs are injected into teddy bears and soft toys carried by the children, local paper The National reported.

"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.

An average of five arrests were made every day last year, figures show.

Most were women who had swallowed kilos of packaged drugs intended to be retrieved once they entered the Gulf state.

In other cases, drugs were taped onto the children themselves - among the drugs commonly seized by custom officers were tramadol, lyrica and marijuana.