MUSCAT, Nov 6 – Countries need to take a unified stand to combat human trafficking, say experts gathered at the fifth annual symposium on combating human trafficking at Sheraton Oman organised by the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking in coordination with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “Trafficking is a national issue but an international phenomenon,” said Ausamah Alabsi, CEO and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Bahrain. He added, “As such we need to continuously understand what are the methods that have evolved in the past year and at the same time understand what is happening in the international arena.
The importance of these forums is that they give an opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences because it is a unified concern and is a single type of issue that we share in this part of the world as we deal with organisations from outside the region which exploit and traffic some expatriate and migrant workers. “To combat human trafficking it must be kept in mind that no other part of the world has the same demographic composition as the Gulf,” said Alabsi. Laws on human trafficking vary from country to country especially in regard to women and children. Mohammed Mattar, UNODC expert on Human Trafficking and Professor of Law at Qatar University, while speaking to the Observer, said the success story is the legislative movement is prevalent in every Arab country.
“Combating human trafficking first of all requires a legislation which sees human trafficking as a specific crime and has penalty compatible to the gravity of the crime. This is what you see in the Gulf region. But my message is that in addition to punishment and criminalisation you need a human rights approach in combating the problem and in providing services to the victims of human trafficking.” In his presentation at the symposium, he recommended multidisciplinary approach including prevention – taking preventive measures, second was punishment for the crime, third raising awareness on human trafficking and fourth is providing the victims the care that covers psychological and giving them the right to stay in the country at least during the time of the trial or till the time of compensation, and providing them the right to integrate within the society for humanitarian reasons.”