x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Three deny forcing woman to work as prostitute

Three Bangladeshi women were promised work in Dubai only to be imprisoned and forced into prostitution once they arrived, a court was told.

DUBAI // Three Bangladeshi women were promised work in Dubai only to be imprisoned and forced into prostitution once they arrived, a court was told yesterday. A 20-year-old woman told prosecutors she was brought into the country to work as a domestic helper. "I was locked up for one month, only served food and given clothes. After that month, I was told that I will be working in prostitution," she said, according to evidence presented to the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

Three Indians - SS, 27, a mechanic, KK, 40, a farmer and 31-year-old AS - a painter are accused of being members of a human trafficking ring, some members of whom are in custody and some still at large. Each denies trafficking the women, forcing them into prostitution and operating a brothel. The woman said when she refused to work as a prostitute she was assaulted and repeatedly raped by a pimp named Shafiq, who, according to prosecutors, is in custody facing other trafficking charges.

Another woman, 25, told prosecutors she was brought to the UAE to work as a tailor, but, two weeks after her arrival, she was made to work as a prostitute. She tried to go home but was blackmailed and promised money to send to her family, which was never given. The women were forced to have sex with four to five men every day, it was alleged, and once, one of them had to sleep with 11 men. According to prosecution documents, the accused illegally imprisoned the women in one flat and operated the brothel in another close by. They offered the women for sale and assaulted them, it was alleged.

The men were arrested in a police raid at the alleged brothel on January 21. A police officer told prosecutors that, during the raid, SS was found to be in possession of keys to locks to rooms around the flat. SS and KK were also found to have large amounts of cash. AS is accused of collecting money from customers. Presiding Judge Hamad Abdul Latif adjourned the hearing to October 26 for the prosecution to call witnesses. The men were remanded in custody.

amustafa@thenational.ae