x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Syrian man sentenced to life in prison for trafficking

The ringleader of Abu Dhabi's largest human trafficking operation was sentenced today to life in prison by Abu Dhabi's Criminal Court.

Abu Dhabi // The ringleader of Abu Dhabi's largest human trafficking operation was sentenced today to life in prison by Abu Dhabi's Criminal Court. SS, a Syrian, was found guilty of purchasing women from Morocco and forcing them into prostitution here. Prosecutors say he owned a villa and flats where as many as 18 women were imprisoned and assigned handlers to guard and transport them. The wife of SS, also a Moroccan, had told the court that her husband forced her into prostitution three months after she married him. The case came to the attention of authorities after one of the women escaped. Abu Dhabi police raided the villa and two other flats; SS was believed to have fled the country. Seven other men, all working for SS, were sentenced to life in prison. He continuously denied the human-trafficking charges, claiming the women worked willingly. He presented in court last week evidence that he said showed some of the women travelled freely in and out of the country. He has 15 days to appeal the sentence. myoussef@thenational.ae