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Human trafficking down 50% last year, police say

Dubai: The recent arrest of a man who trafficked eight women and forced them to work in prostitution was one of the 18 human trafficking cases registered last year, according to Dubai Police's Human Rights Department.

Compared to the 35 human trafficking cases registered in 2009, there has been a drop of almost 50 per cent this year, Colonel Mohammad Al Murr, Director of the department, said.

In this case, an Asian man was arrested for keeping the women locked in two apartments in Deira, confiscating their passports and forcing them to entertain male clients, although one of the victims was a 15-year-old.

The women told the police that they had been brought to the UAE to work in legitimate jobs, but were instead locked up. The man confessed that the women were brought to the UAE on visit visas and on their arrival he would rape them in order to force them to become sex workers.

Ensuring that police procedures are in line with the law and protecting the weak segments of society are some of the main duties of the recently renamed Human Rights Department at the Dubai Police, Col Al Murr said.

‘Victims of crimes'

"Because women and children are the victims of many crimes, we have set up a section to protect them, which coordinates with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, Minister of Social Affairs, women and children's centres in all emirates as well as non-government organisations," he said.

Another section that's been newly set up is the Human Rights and Liberties Protection, which aims to ensure that any procedure taken by the police is in line with the law and involves no violation or abuse of power.

"If we find that any procedure has abuse of power or negligence in offering a service, we take disciplinary action against the policeman involved," Col Al Murr said.

Other punishable acts include illegal arrest, violating the privacy of people in their homes by entering without a search warrant, and using force during interrogation.

"We receive complaints from residents in person at the department, on the Dubai Police website and through phone numbers 8005005 and 800404040," he said.

Malicious reports

The department is also open to receiving complaints from workers whose employers have filed malicious reports against them. If it is proved that the reports were filed with bad intentions, the employers could be referred to the prosecution, Col Al Murr added.

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