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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                                                                             

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges.


The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the United Arab Emirates.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Police, Criminal Investigation
04- 2013430
Country code: 971-



Thai Families Partners In Child Sex Trade

The Lilith eZine, The Lilith Gallery Network, Mae Sai, Thailand

[accessed 8 August 2011]

With prices varying from $114 to $913—the latter figure equal to almost six years' wages for most families—parental bonds in impoverished households are easily broken.  In fact, child prostitution is so established that many brothel agents live in the village, and are often friends or relatives of the family from whom they buy the children.  The agents also approach the thousands of girls from Burma, Laos and southern provinces of China who cross the border annually.  Many wind up working as prostitutes in Singapore, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Regional Overview – Sexual Exploitation of Children Middle East and North Africa [PDF]

Zina Khoury and Sirsa Qursha, ECPAT International, 2020

[accessed 9 September 2020]

This Regional Overview on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), consolidates the relevant existing data to map the context, risk factors, region-specific issues, responses and gaps in the fight against the issue. In addition to providing external audiences with a summary and analysis of the SEC, this report will also serve as an advocacy tool that highlights good practices by governments and other actors, and identifies opportunities for improvements. Keywords: child marriage, war and conflict, LQBTQI, SOGIE, gender norms, taboo.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 9 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes the sexual exploitation of children, with a minimum penalty for conviction of 10 years in prison. Consensual sex is illegal outside of marriage, carrying a minimum penalty of one year in prison. The penalty for conviction of sex with children younger than 14 is life imprisonment. Distribution and consumption of child pornography is illegal.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – It seems that the major problem of concern in the United Arab Emirates is the one of human trafficking. There is no available data on child prostitution and child pornography; however some studies have been conducted on human trafficking.

U.A.E.: Muslim Federation Of States Is Hub of International Prostitution

Peyman Pejman, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, 02 July 2004

[accessed 8 August 2011]

The latest U.S. State Department report on human trafficking, released in June, sharply criticizes the U.A.E. government for failing to tackle the links between prostitution and illegal trafficking. The report says: "The United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked primarily from South and East Asia and the former Soviet Union for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation."

A woman, native of Turkmenistan, will soon be tried in a court in the [Tajik] capital for exploiting her adopted daughter as a prostitute

Asia-Plus news agency, Dushanbe, 9 July 2004 -- in Russian

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 August 2011]

In February 2002, the accused adopted the underage girl, as it became known later, with a view to sexual exploitation. She took the 12-year-old girl to the UAE three months afterwards, where the girl (an ethnic Tatar) was for the first time forced into prostitution. The following year, they stayed in Dubai, where the girl was regularly forced into prostitution. She was repeatedly sexually abused.

In February 2003, they were deported from the UAE, but this did not stop the resourceful "mother", and the girl was taken to Turkey in December 2003. There, in Istanbul she was sexually exploited until March this year

Woman jailed for forcing child into sex trade

Independent Online (IOL) News, Dushanbe, November 5 2004

[accessed 6 January 2011]

Last week a non-governmental organisation said there was a growing trend in the abduction and sale of Tajik boys for sexual exploitation abroad.  The Modar organisation said groups in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Pakistan and other countries were prepared to pay as much as $70 000 for a Tajik boy between the ages of 10 and 12.

Slavery of Children and women in Persian gulf countries

Morteza Aminmansour, Persian Journal, Jun 20, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 August 2011]

Exact number of victims is impossible to obtain, but according to an official source in UAE, there has been increase in the number of teen-age girls in prostitution (forced to work from Iran and other countries). The magnitude of the statistic conveys how rapidly this form of abuse has grown. The popular destinations for victims of the sex slave trade are the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf (UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar). Traffickers target girls between 13 and 17 to send to Arab countries. The number of Iranian women and girls who are deported from Persian Gulf countries indicates the Magnitude of the trade.

Human Rights Reports » 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights PracticesArmenia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 31, 2003

[accessed 8 August 2011]

[f] TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - However, most parents and relatives were convinced that they were sending such children to work in the UAE or elsewhere as models, dancers, waitresses, or domestic servants. Traffickers themselves were often ex-prostitutes or pimps who have already established "good working contacts" in the country of destination. They were well organized, have connections with local authorities and were supported and protected by criminal gangs.

5.1 Middle East - State of CSEC/ Attitudes toward CSEC [PDF]

ECPAT International, Looking Back Thinking Forward, November 2000 -- The fourth report on the implementation of the Agenda for Action adopted at the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 August 2011]

While Israel, Jordan and Lebanon indicate a tacit willingness to address the issue, the majority of the countries in the region have not conducted research and deny the possibility that children are being sexually exploited for commercial purposes.  Open discussions of sex related issues are regarded as a social taboo thus further explaining the lack of research and acknowledgement of CSEC.  While the extent of child prostitution in the Middle East region is unknown, anecdotal evidence indicates that there is a large problem in selected areas of the region.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children - Middle East/North Africa region

based on the situation analysis written by Dr Najat M’jid for the Arab-African Forum against Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Rabat, Morocco, 24-26 October 2001 -- Source document (in French): Rapport sur la situation de l’exploitation sexuelle des enfants dans la région MENA, 10 septembre 2001

[accessed 8 August 2011]

These countries also have in common, however, a number of constraints that have hindered preparation of national plans of action. In all the countries of the region, there is cultural resistance to addressing the problem because the subject is largely taboo.  Often the issue is dealt with more generally under headings such as ‘violence’ and ‘trauma’.  This means that there has been no regional consensus on defining CSEC in law; in some countries, for example, it is looked upon as an indecent act, in others as rape, although in all 20 countries there is some section of the penal code that can be invoked against sexual abuse and exploitation.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 5 April 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - During the year, there were a number of media reports of trafficking in women and girls into the country, especially to Dubai, for sexual exploitation. Observers believed that trafficking activity was conducted with the complicity of some of the women's citizen sponsors and by non-citizen traffickers.

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