Bahrain issues guidelines to fight trafficking
Manama, November 28, 2013
By Sandeep Singh Grewal
Bahrain has issued a set of guidelines for government bodies to help victims of human trafficking.
The 400-page manual was compiled by the Social Development Ministry and distributed to law enforcement agencies, the Public Prosecution and concerned ministries in a bid to fast-track legal cases involving human trafficking, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It was launched after latest figures showed 17 people are standing trial for human trafficking in Bahrain this year, involving 16 victims.
"Bahrain passed the anti-human trafficking law in 2008 and shelters were set up for victims to assist them," said Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi yesterday.
"Now we have set up a manual that states the rights of the victim and help officials at each stage of the case including transfer to courts.
"This is a complete and comprehensive project by the Social Development Ministry."
She was speaking on the sidelines of a forum on human trafficking, which was held at the Golden Tulip Bahrain.
The guidelines have been established according to international protocols which ensure protection for victims of the crime.
Dr Al Balooshi told the GDN they continue to receive cases at Dar Al Aman shelter for abused women.
"I must say that Bahrain is putting up a great fight against human trafficking," she said.
More than 50 people from ministries, human rights groups and non-governmental organisations took part in the one-day forum. They discussed the problem of organised networks exploiting men and women.
One of the key speakers was Interior Ministry disciplinary court director Lieutenant Colonel Humood Sa'ad Humood, who told the GDN that those found guilty of human trafficking were sentenced to at least 10 years behind bars.
"The punishments are tough and people have been found guilty by Bahrain courts and sentenced to 10 years and some even five years," he said.
Lt Col Humood said 17 people have been accused of human trafficking involving 16 victims including men and women. The accused included five Bangladeshis, six Russians, four Bahrainis and two Thais, while the victims were six Russians, three Thais, two Indonesians and the rest from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco.
"We need sending and receiving countries to step up their awareness regarding this global crime of human trafficking," he added.
"In Bahrain, the Labour Ministry has issued multilingual brochures to help men and women know their rights and which organisations to contact in case of any emergency."
In 2008, Bahrain enacted a comprehensive law prohibiting all forms of human trafficking and imposed strict penalties ranging from three to 15 years imprisonment. - TradeArabia News Service