Women from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Pakistan, and the Philippines travel willingly to the U.A.E. to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude such as excessive work hours without pay, unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse.
Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but are often subjected to similar conditions of coercive labor and to debt bondage as they work to pay off recruitment costs sometimes exceeding the equivalent of two years’ wages. Women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines, Iraq, and Morocco are reportedly trafficked to the U.A.E. for commercial sexual exploitation.
Some foreign women were reportedly recruited to work as secretaries or hotel workers by third country recruiters, but were coerced into prostitution or domestic servitude. The U.A.E. may also serve as a transit country for women trafficked into forced labor in Oman, and men deceived into working involuntarily in Iraq. During the last year, there were no new reports of children identified as trafficked for the purpose of camel jockeying, and the U.A.E. repatriated at least three former child camel jockeys from Sudan. The Government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making certain efforts to do so. An active anti-trafficking committee chaired by a cabinet-level official coordinated the U.A.E.’s anti-trafficking efforts.
Trafficking in persons, as defined by the UN, is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of deception, of the abuse of power or of position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for sex trafficking of women and children. With the publication of its 2014 Trafficking in Persons [TIP] Report, the US State Department downgraded Thailand to “Tier 3”, the lowest level possible, for its failure to show improvements in eliminating human trafficking. This places Thailand in the company of 22 other recalcitrant nations, including North Korea, Syria, and the Central African Republic.