WORLD TRAVEL (EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, AMERICAS...)
Women from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Pakistan, and the Philippines travel willingly to the U.A.E. to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude such as excessive work hours without pay, unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse.
Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but are often subjected to similar conditions of coercive labor and to debt bondage as they work to pay off recruitment costs sometimes exceeding the equivalent of two years’ wages. Women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines, Iraq, and Morocco are reportedly trafficked to the U.A.E. for commercial sexual exploitation.
Some foreign women were reportedly recruited to work as secretaries or hotel workers by third country recruiters, but were coerced into prostitution or domestic servitude. The U.A.E. may also serve as a transit country for women trafficked into forced labor in Oman, and men deceived into working involuntarily in Iraq. During the last year, there were no new reports of children identified as trafficked for the purpose of camel jockeying, and the U.A.E. repatriated at least three former child camel jockeys from Sudan. The Government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making certain efforts to do so. An active anti-trafficking committee chaired by a cabinet-level official coordinated the U.A.E.’s anti-trafficking efforts.
The government increased prosecutions, convictions, and sentences for sex trafficking offenders; trained law enforcement officers on anti-trafficking methods; opened a shelter for victims of trafficking; and continued its efforts to support former child camel jockeys and reached agreements to provide compensation to them. Nonetheless, the U.A.E. did not aggressively prosecute or punish acts of trafficking for forced labor, since the rule of wasta over law despite potential of a widespread problem among domestic and low skilled foreign workers.
The U.A.E. government made progress in prosecuting acts of sex trafficking over the last year, but showed limited efforts to punish forced labor. The U.A.E. prohibits all forms of trafficking through Federal Law No. 51, which prescribes penalties ranging from one year to life imprisonment. Prescribed penalties under this law are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. The U.A.E.’s labor law, however, does not sufficiently protect workers in domestic service, making them vulnerable to forced labor. During this reporting period, the U.A.E. prosecuted and convicted 15 individuals for sex trafficking; their sentences ranged from nine months’ to 10 years’ imprisonment. The U.A.E. government also reported investigating an additional seven trafficking suspects and filing charges against six others for sex trafficking. Nonetheless, criminal law enforcement efforts against trafficking for forced labor remain severely inadequate; despite continuing reports of widespread and prevalent conditions of labor exploitation, the government referred only one recruitment agent for prosecution, but reported no convictions or punishments for such crimes. To improve their capacity and technical skills, the government trained law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges on anti-trafficking investigation and prosecution techniques. The government also hired over 200 new labor inspectors, bringing the total to approximately 425 inspectors to enforce labor laws; these inspectors went through three-month training courses in labor law and other key skills in identifying and addressing labor violations, including trafficking-related offenses.
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