Children aged five groomed for sex in UAE

Children as young as five years old have been rescued from prostitution gangs in the UAE, social workers have revealed.
EWAA, the government shelter for victims of human trafficking, said they have dealt with 16 male and female victims in 2014, including young children forced into the sex trade.
Five of the victims – three were children – have been resettled in Europe or are in the process of being moved because of the danger to their lives.
They were all from the same Arab country, which EWAA asked not to be specified.
At least two criminal cases are still pending. Among the cases that EWAA shelters have dealt with in recent years, is the case of a five-year old being groomed for prostitution.
‘The girl was not physically abused but we found pictures of her with inappropriate clothing and she was always surrounded by alcohol and men at all time, “ said Maitha Al Mazrouei, corporate communication manager at EWAA.
“Bringing them up in this environment would be easier than coercing women into prostitution,” she said.
Al Mazrouei said the girl needed to be rehabilitated, added: “We have to start from scratch including teaching her basic hygiene and basic manners.”
The 16 cases from this year were revealed at the UN trafficking conference in Dubai yesterday.
“The majority of these cases involve minors who have been sold by their own families, so sending them back to their home countries would mean endangering their lives again”, May Kadkoy, senior protection associate at the UN office in Abu Dhabi, told 7DAYS.
“There is a great chance that they will resell them again if they return home.”
One of the five relocation cases involved an 11-year-old boy. He was being groomed for use as a prostitute. Three of five have been given new homes in Holland, Denmark and Sweden. The two others are still awaiting resettlement.
“The pending cases involve two children, 11 and 15,” said Kadkoy.
In 2010 the UN agency helped to resettle four victims from the UAE after being referred by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.
EWAA has dealt with 37 children who have fallen victim to human trafficking since 2007. It currently has 11 victims in their shelters. Al Mazrouei said fighting human trafficking is a huge challenge.
“It is an organised crime. The income they get is equal to that illegal drug and weapon traders get”, said Al Mazrouei.