x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Trafficking 'gang' of five charged in Dubai

Prosecutors said they learned of the crime via a message from a friend of the victim who lived overseas.

DUBAI // Five people, including a woman, were charged this morning with human trafficking after authorities were alerted by an overseas complaint.

Dubai Attorney General Essam Issa al Humaidan ordered the referral of four Asian men, one Asian woman and three other women who are on the run to the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance’s third circuit, which exclusively handles human trafficking cases.

In a press statement released this morning by the Public Prosecutor’s office, Mr al Humaidan described the alleged traffickers as an organized crime unit that trafficked women for sexual exploitation.

The official charges were human trafficking, illegal confinement, forceful solicitation of prostitution, threatening the victim and running a brothel, said Dubai Advocate General Khalifa bin Deemas, head of the human trafficking task force at Dubai Public Prosecution.

Prosecutors also charged the three defendants on the run with facilitating prostitution and ordered the Dubai Police criminal investigation division to locate them.

According to the statement, police were alerted to the crime after the victim, an unidentified young Asian woman, sent an SMS message to a friend overseas begging for help.

The friend then contacted the UAE authorities, prosecutors said, and reported the details to them.

Chief prosecutor Ismail Madani and Prosecutor Amna bu Esaiba from the human trafficking task force conducted the investigation with the victim and the defendants.

The victim told prosecutors she had come to Dubai and was taken from the airport to a flat in the Naif district of Deira, where she was told that she would work for the female defendant as a prostitute. In her statements, the woman said she was beaten when she refused to have sex and told she would be paid after she covered the expenses of bringing her to the country.

She said she was taken to apartments across town for sex and repeatedly threatened to be handed over Dubai Police if she refused to work.

A date for the first court hearing has not yet been set.

amustafa@thenational.ae