x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Alleged trafficking victim too broken to testify

Woman breaks down in court while telling the judge how she and a compatriot were brought to the UAE and forced into prostitution.

DUBAI // A 20-year-old human trafficking victim who prosecutors say was forced into prostitution by a Bangladeshi couple could not compose herself enough to answer the court’s questions this morning.

Judge Mounir Fahmi Mounir of the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance told the defence lawyer cross examining her, “She is crying so hard that she can't talk.”

The two women, both from Bangladesh, were lured into the country by the couple MB, 25, and NT, 38, last year, then locked up in an apartment in Naif area, beaten and forced into having sex for money, records say.

Both suspects denied human trafficking in court.
A third suspect, who was not identified in records, is alleged to have been behind the prostitution ring. Records said that suspect fled the country on August 23, the same the day the victims ran away.

Prosecution records said the victims were approached in Bangladesh by an associate of the suspects and offered them maid jobs in Dubai.

They arrived at Dubai International airport and were received by MB, who, according to records, took their passports, entry permits and tickets and took them to an apartment in Deira in a taxi.

One of the women told prosecutors she asked the suspect whether she was going to work in that apartment, but he told her she would only rest for a day there, then be taken to her employer.

According to records she was locked up in the apartment, where she met NT. A week after her arrival she was beaten and forced to have sex with MB, then with other men for money.

“I refused but he beat me and NT blackmailed me to pay her Dh20,000 to let me go,” she told prosecutors.

She added that 10 days after she arrived, she was taken to several hotels in Dubai for prostitution, records show.
The second woman arrived one month after her compatriot and was also forced into prostitution.

In August, the first woman told the suspects she was sick and needed to see a doctor, records show. She added that when they gave in to her plea, MB took both of them to a hospital, but on the way they ran away and sought the help of a shopkeeper, who called the police.

The second woman told prosecutors that she paid Dh2500 to come to the UAE and work.

Police found notebooks at the suspect’s apartment which had names and numbers of men, records said, adding that many contraceptives were also seized from the apartment.

The next hearing was scheduled for March 23.

salamir@thenational.ae