The UAE's Minister of Justice has underlined the country's commitment to stamping out the "heinous crime" of human trafficking.
Abdullah Al Nuaimi, marking the UN-established World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Sunday, said the Emirates was taking tough action against offenders.
The Emirates has introduced legislation to combat all forms of human trafficking, which include sexual exploitation and forced labour.
The National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking was established in 2007 to support these efforts.
Mr Al Nuami said the UAE had adopted "firm, serious measures" and was "at the forefront of countries in the region that have acceded to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime".
In 2021, the UAE took part in a major Interpol operation to tackle human trafficking, leading to hundreds of arrests.
A dedicated Dubai Police unit is setting out to help victims of human trafficking rebuild their lives.
Its Human Trafficking Crimes Control Centre was set up in 2009 with the aim of combating such crimes and improving victim support services.
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Academy has intensified training programmes on trafficking crimes.
Mr Al Nuaimi said the Emirates has sought to keep pace with the evolving threat posed by human traffickers by building "strong, constructive bridges of co-operation between the national authorities, regional and international organisations to employ modern technology to make our institutions more resilient and responsive to fight this crime".
The law criminalises all forms of human trafficking and aims to prevent and combat all forms of human trafficking in the UAE, he said.
He highlighted the UAE's Five P's strategy – prevention, prosecution, punishment, protection and promotion (of international co-operation) - to tackling the crime.
‘’On the occasion of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, we affirm our constant and tireless endeavour to eradicate this heinous crime, with our belief in the centrality of co-operation at the various national, regional and international levels.
"We call on all state partners, United Nations agencies and civil society organisations to join efforts to confront this transnational crime."
Global call for action
The UN says global crises, conflicts and the climate emergency make trafficking risks worse.
"Together, let us build a world where no one can ever be bought, sold, or exploited," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday.
‘’We must invest much more in detection and protection. We must strengthen law enforcement to bring criminals that commodify human beings to justice. And we must do more to help survivors rebuild their lives.''
‘’Today – amidst growing inequalities, worsening climate emergencies, and record displacement – more people are left vulnerable to traffickers.
"The majority of detected victims are women and children, many of whom suffer brutal violence, forced labour, and horrific sexual exploitation and abuse. Yet traffickers continue to operate with impunity. Their crimes are receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change.''