Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Arab Emirates

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Arab Emirates, 5 June 2002, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

United Arab Emirates (Tier 3)

The United Arab Emirates is a country of destination for trafficked persons. Foreign nationals comprise about eighty-five percent of the population, and guest workers make up ninety-eight percent of the country's private sector workforce. Of these, some who come to the United Arab Emirates for unskilled or semi-skilled employment become the victims of trafficking, since they are subject to coerced labor, slave-like conditions, or sexual exploitation. Those low-skilled foreign workers forced into domestic servitude primarily come from South and Southeast Asian countries, primarily India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Victims trafficked as domestic male servants, laborers and unskilled workers in construction and agriculture come mainly from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. There are reports that some trafficking victims' employment contracts were altered or switched upon their arrival to the United Arab Emirates without their consent, actions against which such victims have little effective recourse. Women and girls from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, East Asia and Eastern Europe have reported being lured with the promise of legitimate jobs and then forced into sexual exploitation. Boys from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been trafficked to the United Arab Emirates to work as camel jockeys.

The government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The United Arab Emirates does not have a law criminalizing trafficking in persons. Forced or compulsory labor is illegal, and labor regulations prohibit the employment of persons less than fifteen years of age. Traffickers can be prosecuted for child smuggling. The authorities have prosecuted foreign child smugglers, but do not investigate citizens involved in trafficking. The government prohibited the use of children under the age of fifteen as camel jockeys in 1993, but the Camel Racing Association, not the government, is responsible for enforcing these rules. The labor laws in the United Arab Emirates do not cover domestic servants or agricultural workers. Regarding protection of victims, the government has made only minimal efforts. The government of the United Arab Emirates has provided underage camel jockeys with shelter and repatriation assistance, but provides no assistance to other trafficking victims. Prostitutes are either detained or arrested and prosecuted and then deported without regard to whether they are victims of trafficking. The government does not sponsor prevention efforts. It has restricted granting visas to single women who are under forty years of age, to prohibit them from visiting the United Arab Emirates and working as prostitutes.

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