Friday, August 10, 2007

Big Steps for Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I spent some time in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, an economic epicenter in the Middle East. While there, I was very aware of the human trafficking problem with which they are dealing. Below is an article about one of the first convictions for human trafficking. We are talking monumental!

As one of my friends wrote, "At last, concrete progress against trafficking is becoming a reality in Dubai."

Check it out.

  • Dubai - Justice was done

    Wednesday 11 Jul, 2007

    Dubai - Dubai's top prosecutor has hailed 15-year prison sentences handed yesterday to a couple for human trafficking - the first ever convictions for the crime in the UAE. The two Indians bought their female victim for just dhs4,300 and forced her into prostitution before attempting to sell her on.

    Welcoming yesterday's sentences, Attorney General Eassam Al-Humaidan, told 7DAYS: “This is one of the ugliest cases we have seen. The verdicts were fit for such an inhumane criminal act. We asked for tough penalties in this case and we will continue to take a strong stand against anyone involved in human trafficking in this country.”

  • He added: “Everyone should take a stand against these types of crimes. These verdicts are a strong deterrent to such criminals.” The Dubai Court of First Instance passed down the prison sentences to the 25-year-old Indian driver and his accomplice, a 29-year-old Indian housemaid, after convicting them following their three-week trial. Both will be deported after serving their time.

  • Judges were told that their 33-year-old Indonesian victim was bought from Al Ain and forced to work in Dubai as a prostitute while being regularly assaulted by the couple. The victim had suffered serious injuries during her ordeal, according to police records.

  • The court was told that she managed to eventually escape from her captors and report her predicament to police who then arranged a trap to capture the traffickers. In a sting operation, undercover officers contacted the couple and said they would buy the woman from them for the same price as the couple had originally paid for her.

  • Then, during a meeting in the Deira area of Dubai, police arrested the pair as they tried to negotiate the sale of their victim. A third defendant, a 27-year-old Pakistani, was cleared of human trafficking charges arising from the same case. Last November, a Federal law was passed in the UAE stating that anyone involved in human trafficking would be jailed for at least five years.

  • Anybody found guilty of forming a gang specifically involved in human trafficking would be sentenced to life in jail. The new law also stipulated that a life sentence would be passed down on anyone trafficking children. Earlier this year another Indian couple was cleared of human trafficking charges after being accused of smuggling two children out of India and through Dubai to France.

  • They were, however, sentenced to six months in prison for falsifying the youngsters' passports.

    By Ali Al-Shouk

Article printed from 7DAYS General and Local News | Dubai Abu Dhabi | UAE:

URL to article:

Part 2: Human Trafficking in Ecuador: A Personal Encounter

Saludos de Ecuador! ´m in Lago Agrio right now, which is an oil town in the Amazon. It´s hot here. Haha. This town is really poor. Of the 60,000 or so residents, about 8,000 are Colombian
refugees, mostly families, but a lot of single women and young girls too. Today we had a meeting with representatives from Movilidad Humana, and the woman we spoke with dealt a lot with the sexual exploitation and mistreatment of women, specifically young girls here in Lago Agrio. She told us that the majority of women who work in the bars and cantinas are Colombian refugees. She also said that there are women who go into Colombia to get these young girls and bring them here to work in the bars. There are very few employment and education opportunities for young girls in this town. A good portion of the girls working in the bars are underage. Additionally she told us that many of the girls are taken from here and trafficked to other locations in Ecuador, like Ibarra or Santo Domingo. Right now the organization (Movilidad Humana) has few resources to help solve this problem, and the magnitud of it makes it that much more difficult. They are using the resources they have to start campaigns to prevent the young girls from going into this line of "work." They have created a network of agencies devoted to helping end the exploitation and mistreatment of young girls. They are also starting initatives to teach Ecuadorian and Colombian kids (and then later with adolescents) traditional dances, singing, painting, and other skills that they can use rather than looking for work in bars/being exploited. They have a workshop of Ecuadorian and Colombian women who work on knitting and crocheing projects (mostly purses) that they can sell to get money to then buy more supplies and expand their work. Movilidad Humana also tries to help the young girls thrown into jail for prostitution and who are facing deportation for lack of documentation. It´s a big problem here, and this is only one organization working toward integration of Colombians and Ecuadorians, as well as the protection of young girls. Just thought I would share with you what I
learned today. It´s definitely a harsh reality, and hopefully in the following months and year other agencies will take note and help the cause. Also, the Ecuadorian government needs to increase its presence here to eliminate corruption and crack down on the very bars/cantinas as well as the petroleros and military men who fuel the demand for such mistreatment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Human Trafficking in Ecuador: A Personal Encounter

Two friends of mine (both undergraduates) are currently studying immigrant populations in Ecuador. During their visit, they encountered human trafficking and knowing about the conference, they sent their stories to me. This personal perspective is priceless ---as Spanish speakers, they are getting a good chunk of the story in the local language--- and I thought it would be great to share. It reminds us that we as students can get involved.

If you would like to know more information about the situation or learn how you can help, please contact us at

Just wanted to drop you a line about trafficking that is a huge problem her in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. We met with a Catholic organization called Movilidad Humana today and the woman who spoke with us is responsible for programs related to sexual abuse, exploitation of minors, and human trafficking. Apparently, women from Ecuador go up into Colombia and recruit girls to work here in Ecuador where there are relatively more jobs, only to ^hire them out to bars and brothels which abound here in this town. 60-70 per cent of the women in these jobs are Colombians. Girls as young as 13, it{s just awful and apparently some of the biggest consumers are members of the oil companies and the police, so naturally, not much can be done to denounce this problem.
Movilidad Humana works closely with other migrant and refugee agencies as well as the local government top try and combat the trade in persons, but it{s an uphill battle. The superintendent of police tried to start a campaign to bring these bares clandestinos under the rule of law, but sadly was assassinated in June. A sad reality about how cheaply someone can value another human{s life. If I get more information on the topic, I will be sure to send it along.