x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Five charged in trafficking, prostitution scheme

Men lured woman to UAE with false promises, then tried to force her to work in sex trade, prosecutors say.

DUBAI // Five men were charged with trafficking a 21-year-old woman to the UAE, locking her up and forcing her into a brothel, a court heard today.

Prosecutors at the Criminal Court of First Instance charged the five Bangladeshi men, MI, 28; MT, 27; MF, 32; NA, 24; and RM, 24, with human trafficking.

NA and RM were separately charged with locking up the Bangladeshi woman in a villa and forcing her into working in the sex trade.

NA alone faces charges of running a brothel, and locking up and assaulting a second woman.

MI, MT and, MF were charged with criminal complicity. The men denied all charges before Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy.

SS told prosecutors she was approached by a man in her country who worked in travel and offered a job in Dubai. She said her family sent her to Dubai, and when she landed, RM was waiting for her. He took her in a taxi to a studio apartment in Fareej Al Marar, where she said she saw four Bangladeshi women, an Ethiopian and Filipina woman who worked in prostituition.

She noted that curtains divided the flat into small rooms, each with a bed. NA, she testified, arranged the work and took the women to customers.

She said there was a security camera showing visitors, and NA was responsible for monitoring it.

Records showed that more than 30 men came to flat daily and were charged Dh30 for sex.

"I remained in the flat for four days, and when I refused to work in sex, they beat me up," she told prosecutors.

The men arranged to sell her for Dh4,000 after she refused to work in sex, prosecutors said.

A police sergeant testified that they received a tip about men interested in selling a woman and arranged to meet with them.

Three men were arrested in a police ambush while the flat was raided.

The next hearing will be on September 7.

salamir@thenational.ae