x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Three sentenced for human trafficking

Immigration official let five Iraqi females, including a 14-year-old, into the country illegally.

DUBAI // Three people including an immigration official were yesterday sentenced to jail for their roles in a human trafficking operation in which five Iraqi females, including a 14-year-old, were sold into the sex industry. An Iraqi couple, RA and IA, were each convicted of human trafficking, running a brothel and soliciting prostitution and sentenced to 10 years in jail. The Iraqi woman, IA, who has absconded, was sentenced in absentia. AS, an Emirati immigration officer working at the UAE-Oman border checkpoint in Hatta, was jailed for one year for accepting a bribe and having sex with two prostitutes.

The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance heard that RA bribed the official to let three Iraqi girls enter the country illegally by allowing him to have sex with two of his prostitutes at a party. In 2006, RA, 38, and the woman bought three of the girls from their families in Iraq, the court heard. One of the girls, YA, now aged 16, told prosecutors: "I was 14 when my mother sold me to the couple. I don't know how I entered the country but the couple somehow issued a visa for me.

"The defendant used to beat me and threatened me when I refused to have sex with customers." A police captain testified that RA had confessed that he trafficked two girls into the country from Oman. He told officers the immigration official assisted him. RA was also convicted of offering AS, 38, sexual favours from the girls for free. The case came to light after three of the five girls escaped and complained to the Immigration and Residency Department. They said they had been forced to work as prostitutes for two years.

The girls were charged with prostitution but were acquitted as they were victims of human trafficking.
amustafa@thenational.ae