x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

10 years in jail for human trafficking gang

Four women are sentenced to ten years in prison for human trafficking.

DUBAI // Four expatriate women who lured another to the country with the promise of a well-paid dancing job but forced her into prostitution instead have been sentenced to ten years in prison.

The gang worked in tandem with a fifth person in Moldova, placing adverts seeking women willing to work as dancers in Dubai.

One of the adverts was seen by a 23-year-old Moldovan earning a yearly salary of less than US$400 for her work at an internet shopping company.

“The ad said the pay was very tempting,” recalled the 23-year-old. She called the number and was told to meet a woman at a restaurant in Moldova’s capital Chisinau for an interview.

“She told me I would dance at a restaurant in a Dubai hotel and would be paid well and provided with accommodation and a driver,” said the woman, who was told she would need to attend dancing lessons.

She then travelled to another Moldovan city where she met MA, a 64-year-old Russian, with whom she stayed for five days while her visa was arranged. The two women then flew to Dubai on January 27 last year.

The woman was taken to an apartment in Mutaina where she was introduced to three more women - AM, a 51-year-old Azerbaijani; DH, a 43-year-old Ukrainian; OS, a 49-year-old Azerbaijani – who took her passport and told her she would stay there while they prepared her for work.

The next day she was introduced to a string of men and told she must have sex with them for money.

“I never imagined I would be in such a situation,” said the woman. She cried and begged to be sent back to Moldova but eventually gave in.

She continued to argue with her four employers and was moved to another brothel where she met two prostitutes who told her there was no escape.

“I was so depressed that I was getting closer to the idea of suicide,” said the woman. She was forced to have sex with at least ten men per day.

After a while she got in touch with police by using the mobile phone of one of her customers, the majority of whom were from Pakistan and Bangladesh. She left a voice message explaining her ordeal.

Police raided the brothel about a week later and rescued the woman, who was found to be suffering from chronic hepatitis which she caught from one of her customers.

The Criminal Court found AM, DH, OS and MA guilty of human trafficking and other charges including running a brothel and imprisoning a woman against her will.

It ordered all four to be placed under close police supervision during their imprisonment. All will be deported after serving their jail terms.

salamir@thenational.ae