Flying rules tightened for minors from India heading to UAE to curb trafficking

Minors travelling from India to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will now have to carry an authorisation letter from their parents or guardians, not only when flying alone but also when they are accompanied by a family member who is not a parent.

This rule comes into effect comes after an advisory by the Dubai immigration and police that aims to prevent child trafficking to the emirate. The advisory stated that any minor travelling alone without proper authorisation will be deported back.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai (Immigration), has notified the implementation of procedures effective from June 1 with regard to travel of children and minors travelling to the UAE.

Though the Dubai authorities did not give reasons for the restrictions, the United States Department of State has, in the past, warned about children from South Asia and Africa being trafficked for use as jockeys in the Gulf States’ camel racing industry. The children have been reported to be abused, with incidences of physical and mental stunting caused by deliberate starvation to prevent weight gain.

Following this, Air India in its travel requirement, uploaded on its website on Friday, said that all minors (18 years and below) will have to mandatorily carry the authorisation form. This form will have to be filled by their parents with details of their address both at home and of their host in the UAE. If a minor is not travelling with his or her parent, then the details of the person receiving them at any of the UAE airports must be given.

On its website, Air India posted details of these travel requirements of minors to the UAE.

“If a minor passenger fails to obey these travel requirements, the minor would be deported if immigration officials at the airport suspect illegal activity. In any suspected case, the normal (Deportee and Inadmissible passengers) process and subsequent fines would be applied,” it read.