no forced labour, no modern slavery and no human trafficking, and no child labour
The UAE is a leading player in the global campaign against human trafficking. The UAE was the first country in the region to enact a comprehensive anti-human trafficking law with Federal Law 51 in 2006. Under the law, human trafficking includes all forms of sexual exploitation and engaging others in prostitution, servitude, forced labor, organ trafficking, coerced service, enslavement, begging, and quasi-slavery practices. In addition, the law ensures that a person aware of an incident of human trafficking and does not report it can be punished. The law raises awareness of crimes linked to human trafficking and provides support and protection to victims and eyewitnesses. It stipulates a minimum fine of AED 100,000 and a minimum term of five years in prison for offenders. In 2013, the law was amended in conformity with the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol), which the UAE ratified in 2009. The law was further amended in February 2015 to strengthen support and protection for victims and witnesses.
The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) was established by Cabinet decision in 2007 in order to coordinate efforts to ensure effective enforcement of Federal Law 51. The Committee includes 18 representatives from various federal and local institutions. NCCHT has implemented a five-point strategy to fight the menace of trafficking, comprised of prevention, prosecution, punishment, protection and the promotion of international cooperation. NCCHT produces an annual report on combating human trafficking in the UAE, which can be found on the Committee's website: www.nccht.gov.ae
The UAE currently maintains a network of shelters to protect and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking. Shelters are located in Abu Dhabi (EWAA Shelter for Women and Children), Dubai (Dubai Foundation for Women and Children), and Ras Al Khaimah (Aman Shelter for Women and Children). A dedicated hotline facilitates the reporting of cases of human trafficking and enables victims to request protection by calling 800SAVE.
Since human trafficking most often begins in the home countries of victims, the UAE has signed agreements with several countries to exchange best practices on the prevention of human trafficking and enhance assistance for victims of this crime. The UAE also participates in several regional and international efforts to counter human trafficking and regularly raises the issue at fora such as the Arab Human Rights Commission Charter Committee.
In previous years, the UAE has hosted the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, who recognized the progress achieved by the national campaign to combat human trafficking.
The UAE condemns, prohibits and penalizes human trafficking through a comprehensive action plan to fight it regionally and abroad. The plan includes: prevention of human trafficking, prosecution and punishment of traffickers, protection of survivors and promotion of international cooperation.
UAE Government established the Ewa'a Shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
In Abu Dhabi, ‘Abu Dhabi Shelter and Humanitarian Care Centre’ (Ewa’a), an affiliate of the Department of Community Development, is responsible for providing care, safe shelter and health and psychological care to victims of human trafficking and all forms of violence including domestic violence. The centre’s responsibilities include developing awareness programmes to prevent human trafficking and all types of abuse in coordination with relevant entities.
In Dubai, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) is the first licensed non-profit shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence, abuse and human trafficking in the UAE. It was established in July 2007 to offer victims immediate protection and support services in accordance with international human rights obligations.
The foundation provides free services to women and children who are victims of violence. It offers a helpline, safe shelter, case management, medical care, psychological support, counselling and legal, consular and immigration assistance. In addition to those core services, DFWAC also provides secondary support services including children's education, recreational activities, vocational services, physical fitness, all-round empowerment and skills training.
In Sharjah, Women's Protection Centre of the Social Services Department of Government of Sharjah (SSSD) has allocated a toll free number 800-800-700 to provide social, psychological and legal counselling and solutions to domestic issues by legal, social and psychological specialists. SSSD also provides family consultations through its website.
In addition, there are several social support centers under the supervision of Abu Dhabi Police that look after victims of human trafficking. They render all necessary support in co-ordination and co-operation with various relevant institutions.
Employment of Juveniles under the age 15 is banned in UAE. However, effective January 2011, teenagers in the age group 15-18 years are allowed to work, on obtaining a teenage work permit from the Labour Ministry. However, there are certain restrictions on the type of work and hours of employment.
According to a new decree issued in 2016 by the HR Ministry, students are allowed to complete training periods and fill in positions in the private sector after obtaining work permits. According to the decree, guardians of students aged 12 to 18 years should produce a written consent for training purposes, while those aged 15 to 18 years should seek work permit. The decree grants national and foreign students similar conditions in terms of benefits and advantages to those already filling the same spot.
The authorized temporary work permit allows facilities to hire national or expat students registered or non-registered in the Ministry’s database, including students to work on projects with completion periods not exceeding six months, with Dh.500 as permit fee. The Ministry grants temporary work permit for facilities to use nationals or non-nationals registered in the ministry database, including students to work for lesser hours in the same jobs as those filled by their counterparts for a period of maximum one year, with a fee of Dh.500.
Juvenile work permits are offered to employ nationals or non-nationals in the 15 to 18 age bracket, thereby enabling them to work for a period of not more than a year, with Dh.500 as fee. The Ministry has however, warned against making the appointed students work for more than six hours a day. They should be granted more than an hour of rest, breaks to eat or pray, and should consider not to keep them on duty for more than four consecutive hours a day.
The permits can be availed from Tasheel Service Centre through ministry’s smart phone applications.
Employers, before employing a juvenile, should retain copies of certain documents in the juvenile’s personal file, such as birth certificate, physical fitness certificate issued by a specialized physician, written consent from juvenile’s guardian, etc. Further, the employment of a juvenile is prohibited when the job requires night shifts, or involves hazardous jobs or is harmful to health, such as underground jobs in mines, quarries, furnaces of melting metals, oil refining, asphalt industry and bakeries. Further, when working hours exceed six hours a day, one or more breaks should be provided. Juveniles are not permitted to work overtime, or on holidays. A Juvenile work permit has a validity period of one year.
Employment of women at night between 10:00pm and 7:00am is prohibited, except under certain situations such as during work stoppages due to force majeure, employees in technical and administrative position, or other jobs as determined by the Labour Ministry, wherein the woman employee is not required to perform a manual job. Women are also not to be employed in difficult tasks and other duties harmful to health or morals.