News > UAE Armenians (Embassy) > Armenia and UAE sign agreement to combat human trafficking
Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Yerevan.
On 05 December 2009, Dr. Gargash met Armen Gevorgyan, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister (photo below), who welcomed the distinguished guest and his delegation, stressing the importance of exchanging visits between officials from both sides, along with the cooperation between the private sector businesses in the two countries.
This was the third high ranking visit of UAE official to Armenia this year. In March 2009, Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, UAE Foreign Trade Minister paid a three day visit to Armenia, while in June 2009, UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a stop in Yerevan, at the end of his grand diplomatic tour of Europe that covered 12 countries.
On 06 December 2009, UAE and Armenia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combat human trafficking (photo on the left). The MoU was signed by Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of UAE and Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia (see comment below).
On 7 December 2009, Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargasian received Dr. Gargash. The meeting reviewed ways of enhancing bilateral bonds especially in the areas of economy and investment. On the same day, the UAE minister also met with Catholicos Karekin II in Etchmiadzin who lauded the spirit of tolerance and openness prevailing in the UAE. He also commended the good treatment the Armenian community is receiving in the UAE.
Dr. Gargash's visit to Armenia ended with a meeting with President Serzh Sargsyan, during which they discussed the bilateral relations. Gargash conveyed to the Armenian President greeting from UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his best wishes for the Armenian people.
The meeting was attended by UAE's Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Khaled Al-Ghaith.
On 06 December 2009, Armenia and the UAE signed an agreement to combat human trafficking. The two countries have been struggling to contain human trafficking for many years. The situation was extremely grave in the 1990s, when due to the profoundly difficult economic situation and blockade against Armenia, many women were entrapped in the human trafficking nets and were exported to the UAE and other countries, in what was described as modern slavery.
The local Armenian societies in the host countries (the Diaspora communities) did not interfere or provide any shelter or legal support to the victims. The UAE Armenians continued to live their happy life, without caring the least about their compatriots. At that time, there was no Armenian Embassy in the UAE to follow the individual cases, provide support to the victims or facilitate their deportation back home. UAE did not have any anti-human trafficking bodies. The UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking was established in 2006 to address the crime of human trafficking. Law enforcement authorities in Armenia were not bringing any cases against notorious pimps, who operated in broad daylight and hunted down victims in public places in Yerevan or in remote towns or villages, promising them proper jobs as bait. Investigative journalists from Armenia used to come to UAE in uncovered missions to gather exaggerated and dramatized material for their yellow press, claiming heroism in exposing desperate cases, without contributing an inch for a solution.
In an interview with "Khaleej Times" in 26 May 2009, Ambassador Vahagn Melikian informed the readers that Armenia is seriously cooperating with the UAE authorities to stop human trafficking and that soon there would be a bilateral agreement putting an end to this infamous episode.
Armenia and UAE cooperated earlier this year to help bust a human trafficking gang responsible in sending hundreds of women to the UAE and forcing them to work as prostitutes. The gang's leader and her two sisters were sentenced by a court in Yerevan in April 2009.
We are happy that the two countries now have strong law enforcement bodies and solid legal contractual framework that can govern the joint effort of combating human trafficking. Let us hope that the remaining victims come forward, be transferred to Armenia and get proper rehabilitation before joining back the society. Now that the legal framework exists, UAE Armenians should cooperate openly with the Embassy to hire and provide all legal and social help needed to the remaining victims.
Related topics in Azad-Hye:
ATOP Mission to Armenia
Dr. Ani Kalayjian speaks about human trafficking
Armenia placed in 'Tier 2 Watch List' for trafficking in persons
Pimp sentenced to five years in prison
Madame Anoush will remain 13 years behind bars
Below photo: Dr. Gargash meets Armen Gevorgyan, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister