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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century

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 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 aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you. You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street. Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public and how they abuse each other. Would you like to write about market children? homeless children? Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc. There is a lot to the subject of Street Children. 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.


Child beggars thrive on Muslim holy season in Gulf states

Agence France-Presse AFP, DUBAI, Oct 12, 2007

[accessed 8 August 2011]

[accessed 12 January 2017]

According to a study by the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh published in the Saudi daily Okaz, more than 80,000 "street children" can be found at any one time in the six oil-rich Gulf Arab monarchies -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 30 March 2020]

CHILDREN -All children received free health care and all citizen children also receive free public education through the university level. Non-citizen resident children were not permitted to enroll in public schools unless they lived in rural areas that lacked private schools. Many foreign workers in private sector employment received education allowances as part of their salary packages. For those who did not receive the extra salary benefit, the government provided an annual subsidy of approximately $1,600 (6,000 dirhams) per family to its non-citizen employees for private school tuition.

Education is compulsory through the ninth grade. Citizen children are required to attend gender-segregated schools through the sixth grade, the last grade of primary education, when children can be as young as 10 or 11 years old. However, compulsory education was not enforced, and some children did not attend school. For the 2004-05 academic year, the Ministry of Education reported student dropout rates as 9.9 percent of the 143,301 primary level students (grades 1 to 5); 8.3 percent of the 148,563 middle school students (grades 6 to 9); and 9.3 percent of the 102,903 students at the secondary level (grades 10 to 12).

Commission Continues General Debate On Children's Rights

UN Commission on Human Rights, Press Release, 8 April 2005

[accessed 8 August 2011]

Adel Al Mahri (United Arab Emirates) said the United Arab Emirates attached great importance to the rights of children and had done the best for its children to ensure they lived in healthy conditions. It had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the ILO Convention number 182. Care for children was a priority for the United Arab Emirates. The Government had provided free education for children at all levels, and had developed curricula for children at all levels. It had reduced the infant mortality rate. Particular attention was given to children with special needs, with centers for them ensuring they would be integrated in society. Special laws had been set up for juvenile delinquents, ensuring their rehabilitation. The interconnection between care for children and advancement of women had been noted, and a national mechanism had been set up to care for children and their mothers.

Focus On Rehabilitation Of Child Camel Jockeys

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Lahore, 23 Jun 2005

[accessed 10 March 2015]

NEW BAN IN THE GULF ON CHILD JOCKEYS - One hundred and seventy Pakistani children handed over by camel-owners after the UAE imposed a new ban on camel riding by children on 31 May, now reside at a rehabilitation camp set up by the Prince of Abu Dhabi. It is run by the Karachi-based rights activist, Ansar Burney, who for years has been spearheading efforts to bring the camel children home from the Gulf.

Children With Psychiatric Disorders: The Al Ain Community Psychiatric Survey

Valsamma Eapen, DPM, MRCPsych, PhD, Mona Essa Jakka, MBBS, Mohammed T Abou-Saleh, FRCPsych, PhD, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, July 2003

[accessed 8 August 2011]

[accessed 12 January 2017]

Although the prevalence and symptomatology in this Middle East community are similar to those in Western studies, none of these children had received professional help, suggesting serious deficiencies in mental health care services in the country.

National Report of the United Arab Emirates on the `Development of Education from 1993/1994-1995/1996

[Last access date unavailable]

[accessed 12 January 2017]


Types of institution, program and enrollments particularly concerning:

(a) Literacy courses

(b) Courses for "street children' and other disadvantaged children

(c) Community programs.

Human Rights and Scourge Of Drugs, Drifting Of Youth, Role Of Family As Stabilizing Force Among Issues Discussed At Special Session

UN Press Release GA/9419, 9 June 1998

[accessed 8 August 2011]

The location of this country has made it vulnerable to the scourge of drugs. Since drugs are so prevalent among youth, the United Arab Emirates has taken many preventive strategies. Specialized studies have shown the Government that organized crime targets the poor and the unemployed to bring them into its ranks. The United Arab Emirates, therefore, works hard to find employment for all of its people.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use. PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children United Arab Emirates (UAE)",, [accessed <date>]