x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Court upholds trafficking sentence

Thirteen-year sentence for human trafficking ringleader is upheld.

ABU DHABI // An appeals court has upheld the 13-year jail sentence of a Filipina found guilty of running a human trafficking ring that involved 17 Filipinos in the capital.

Last October, the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance found MA guilty of leading a ring that lured Filipinas into the country with false promises of high-paying jobs. After their arrival they were forced into prostitution.

MA was sentenced to 10 years for human trafficking, three years for using two flats for prostitution, six months for sex outside of marriage and one month for possessing alcohol. She was also fined Dh50,000 for illegally employing an expatriate sponsored by someone else.

MA and two other women were charged with human trafficking. On Sunday, the appeals court upheld those sentences and sentenced the second and third defendants to three years in jail on charges of human trafficking and running a brothel. The second defendant was given an additional month for illegally working for someone other than her sponsor. Both had denied any involvement in human trafficking and claimed that they were also victims.

Fourteen other women, accused of prostitution as part of the same case, each received a one-year jail sentence. All the defendants, who are from the Philippines, will be deported after their jail terms.

The women were arrested last July after a woman who had been trafficked called the police. Three women led the ring and forced 20 others into prostitution after holding them captive and threatening them.

rruiz@thenational.ae