The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on cooperation in preventing and combating of Human Trafficking. The MoU is expected to be signed very soon after the approval.
The MoU will strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and increase the bilateral cooperation on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking especially women and children expeditiously.
The following are the salient features of the MoU:
(i) To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country.
(ii) Taking preventive measures that would eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.
(iii) Anti-trafficking Cells and Task Forces will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking.
(iv) Police and other concerned authorities will work in close cooperation and exchange information which can be used to interdict human traffickers.
(v) The repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective re-integration of the victims.
(vi) A Joint Task Force with representatives from both sides would be constituted to monitor the working of the MoU.
As a destination of trafficking, South Asian countries are mainly affected by domestic trafficking, or trafficking from the neighboring countries. However, South Asian victims are also increasingly detected in the Middle East.
India is a source and transit country as far as trafficking to UAE is concerned, whereas UAE is a destination and transit country for men and women, predominantly from South, Southeast and Central Asia and Eastern Europe who are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Migrant workers, who comprise over 95 percent of the UAE’s private sector workforce, are recruited primarily from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran and East, South and Southeast Asia. Some of these workers face forced labour in the UAE. Women from some of these countries travel willingly to the UAE to work as domestic workers, secretaries, beauticians and hotel cleaners, but some are subjected to forced labour by unlawful withholding of their passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats and physical or sexual abuse.
The reinforcement of anti-trafficking efforts at all levels between the UAE and India is essential for prevention and protection of victims. This requires mutual cooperation among both the countries for intelligence sharing, joint investigation and a coordinated response to the challenges of human trafficking. For this purpose, it is proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE. We have already signed one MoU to prevent trafficking with Bangladesh and another with Bahrain is to be signed during this month.