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Type of document: News
Topic: Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Language: English
Source: www.yobserver.com/article-11156.php
Date of publication: 04 November 2006
Long Abstract: Saudi delegation discuss child trafficking; Girl killed in smuggling attempt

By Abdul-Aziz Oudah

Nov 4, 2006, 12:14

A nine-year old girl died from a fall from one of the high mountains in Alab area of Baqem province, while trying to cross into Saudi Arabia. The unidentified girl was one of a group of children being illegally smuggled into that country, by unnamed traffickers, according to a security source in the border area of Sa’adah governorate.

The Director of Criminal Investigation in the governorate, Colonel Mohamed al-Hadi, said that Sa’adah police had foiled an attempt to smuggle a number of children into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He added that the children were taken into custody along with some of their relatives while trying to cross from the Alab border area. He pointed out that Security police had reduced the number of illicit border crossings aimed at trafficking children, recently.

This comes just ahead of the official visit this week by a Saudi delegation to discuss the mechanisms of coordination between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in the fight against the trafficking of children. The delegation is expected to arrive in the capital, Sana’a, on Sunday. The first deputy at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Abdo al-Hakimi, said that the Saudi delegation will meet with officials from the Yemeni government’s Technical Committee for Combating Child Trafficking, specifically to discuss and develop working mechanisms between the two sides to reduce the broader problem of illegal cross-border infiltration.

The meetings will also address the terms of dealing with children apprehended in Saudi, and the means of extraditing them to officials in Yemen. Al-Hakimi pointed out that his ministry is currently preparing new rules that criminalize child trafficking, in the form of legal amendments that would impose penalties on perpetrators. The Technical Committee For Combating Child Trafficking has completed the draft of a national plan to combat the phenomenon. It is the first Yemeni plan to be formulated to address this problem, and its development was achieved with the participation of all relevant ministries, under the framework of the technical committee, in coordination with UNICEF.

The trafficking of children to work as cheap labor in Saudi Arabia is a growing problem that threatens hundreds, even thousands of Yemeni children every year. The plan, which coordinates efforts by the whole government as well as civil society organizations, is based on three main axes. The first focuses on the methods and procedures of prevention.

The second axis is based on protection—specifically to protect vulnerable children from being exposed to the dangers of trafficking, and from predatory traffickers, and the consequent violation of their rights. The third axis focuses on the steps and procedures needed to develop legislation and to establish mechanisms for the prosecution of perpetrators of child trafficking in the courts.

Copyright 2002 - 2006 Yemen Observer

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