Life sentence is new penalty for human trafficking crimes in UAE

A law has been issued by President Sheikh Khalifa which will see certain human-trafficking crimes punishable by life imprisonment.

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ABU DHABI // The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has issued a new law that makes certain human-trafficking crimes punishable by life imprisonment.

Under the new federal law, a life sentence may be imposed if the victim of the crime is a child or disabled, or if the crime is committed under threat of death or serious harm.

A life term may also be given if the perpetrator is convicted of using physical or psychological torture, if they were carrying a weapon or if they had founded, led or been a member of an organised criminal group.

The new law proves that the Government has a zero-tolerance policy towards human trafficking, said Dr Saeed Mohammed Al Ghafli, assistant undersecretary for Federal National Council Affairs and Secretary of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT).

“We are working hard towards a trafficking-free society. Punishment is one of the important strategic pillars of the UN’s five Ps strategy, which is prevention, prosecution, punishment, protection and promotion of international cooperation.”

Dr Al Ghafli said a campaign would soon be introduced across the country to raise awareness about human trafficking.

The NCCHT said that last year there were 11 human-trafficking victims living in Ewa’a shelters for women and children, in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. Ewa’a has helped 218 victims since it opened in 2008, according to the NCCHT.