x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Maid tried to sell her illegitimate newborn baby for Dh4,000, Dubai court told

Runaway maid handed baby over to two undercover police officers posing as married couple after they negotiated her down to Dh4,000.

DUBAI // A runaway maid who turned to prostitution tried to sell her illegitimate baby for Dh4,000 because she could not afford to care for it, a court heard today.

"I'm wrong, I was out of my mind when I tried to do that," said SM, 22, from Indonesia, the mother of the six-month-old girl who is now being cared for by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

Prosecutors told the Criminal Court said she absconded from her sponsor in Ras Al Khaimah in September 2011 before moving to Dubai where she worked part time as a maid for various households before turning to prostitution, in which she would earn up to Dh2,500 a month.

She fell in love with one of her customers, TK, a Pakistani, who asked her to quit prostitution and move in with him, promising he would provide for her instead.

She moved into his house in Deira before falling pregnant. He asked her to have an abortion, but she refused. He then abandoned her.

"He said he would leave the country and head to Oman," recalled the maid.

She resumed work as a prostitute until she was seven months pregnant. On August 16 last year she gave birth at home, asssisted by a friend, L, from Indonesia.

A few months after the birth she decided to leave the UAE but lacked the money, so asked her friend to look for a family interested in buying her baby for Dh6,000.

One of the people informed by the friend told police what was happening. Two undercover officers posing as a married couple then approached the maid pretending they wanted to buy her baby. They negotiated her down to Dh4,000 and agreed to meet her on February 4 this year at a car park in Al Bustan Centre, Al Qusais, to take custody of the child.

She met them and climbed into their car before handing over the baby and taking the Dh4,000. As she left the car she was arrested.

"When I asked her why she was selling her baby, she said she was so poor that she wouldn't be able to support her back in her country, and that she needed the money to return to her country," recalled HA, 37, one of the two undercover officers.

The baby was taken to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

"I haven't seen my baby since they arrested me, I would love to see her," said the maid.

Police investigations found that the child's father had entered the UAE illegally through the Omani border. He went back to Oman when he abandoned the maid before fleeing to his home country. He remains at large.

The maid was charged in the Criminal Court with human trafficking and prostitution. She confessed to both charges.

Both the maid and the child's father were referred to the Misdemeanours Court on charges of having sex outside of wedlock.

The next hearing will be on May 26 to appoint SM a defence lawyer.

salamir@thenational.ae