Ahmad, to give him a name not his own, was born out of wedlock in October 2000. His mother used the certificate from a previous marriage to give birth to him in a Dubai hospital. The day after leaving the hospital with her baby she quit her government job and stopped interacting with family and friends. For almost 10 years, she left her home only to buy food. She lived in fear of society and of a verdict of unlawful sex which could have landed her in prison.
For more than nine years, Ahmad lived as an outcast with his mother in an old town house. A report on a neglected boy wearing girl's clothes, which came to the Dubai police victim continuity programme, uncovered Ahmad's plight in 2007. It took the programme about two years to bring him out of the shadows and change his life. Today he has a legal birth certificate and is enrolled in school. The police also helped the mother resolve her legal status; she was told the responsibility for a crime is nullified after 10 years under UAE law.