x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Abu Dhabi woman did not report forced prostitution for fear of jail

A woman from Uzbekistan claimed she was regularly forced to have sex with strangers, despite coming to work in a restaurant in the UAE, a court in Abu Dhabi heard today.

ABU DHABI // A woman who claims she was pushed into prostitution did not go to the police because she feared being jailed or deported, a court has heard.

ZA, from Uzbekistan, came to to the UAE to work in a restaurant. Instead, over a period of a month, she was regularly forced to have sex with strange men at an Abu Dhabi hotel.

Her "boss" - a woman - supplied the clients, charging them between Dh700 and Dh800 a night.

ZA told the court she did not receive any of that, but she received food and shelter.

However, she previously told public prosecutors that she did get a share. Challenged over the apparent contradiction, ZA insisted in court that she received only food.

The judge asked if she had ever refused to have sex with anyone, or went to the police.

"People come and go to a hotel, why did you not try to speak to anyone?" he asked.

She said she protested to her boss a lot, and called police in Uzbekistan. But she said she knew no one in Abu Dhabi and was afraid to go to the police.

"Why were you scared?" the judge asked. She replied, through a translator, that she was scared of being imprisoned or sent back home.

A verdict will be delivered on November 5.

osalem@thenational.ae