x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Woman 'forced into prostitution after being lured with job offer'

A widow from India was promised a job working as a maid, but was forced to work as a prostitute after arriving in Dubai.

DUBAI // Three men lured a widow from India with the promise of a maid's job, but forced her into prostitution instead, a court heard today.

The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance has charged A Sh, 20, of India - along with the two other suspects who remain at large - with human trafficking, holding the woman hostage, and running a brothel.

A Sh denied the charges in court today.

The victim, identified as MF, 31, was forced to have sex for money with three to seven men daily, prosecutors said.

She had initially come to Dubai in August of last year to search for a job to support her two sons.

"I was leaving my Indian mobile number for people whom I asked for a job," she told prosecutors.

However, when she was unable to find a job after a month, she returned to India.

At the end of February of this year, however, she received a call from someone who offered her a job as a maid in Dubai, for Dh800 a month.

She arrived in Dubai on March 5, and was met by A Sh as well as one of the other suspects, according to court records. The men allegedly took her into a room in Naif that was divided into small areas, with wooden partitions and a bathroom annexed to it.

The next day, they allegedly took her passport and locked her inside the room. They left her with her mobile phone so she could call her sons.

Some time later, A Sh allegedly raped MF and told her she had to work as a prostitute. When she refused, he said she had to pay the men back 20,000 Indian rupees (Dh1,311) for her travel cost, and that she needed to work as a prostitute for three months.

A Sh reportedly received Dh50 to Dh100 from clients, according to public prosecution records.

"They used to shout at me if I was not nice to the customers, and threatened to sell me off to some other people who exploit me more and would not let me go for at least five years," she said.

MF eventually told her family in India what had happened. They encouraged her to report it to police. On March 23, after taking the 999 number from one of her clients, she called police.

After verifying the information from MF, police raided the room on March 26.

"We agreed that she would call me when the suspects would be in the house so we could raid the house," S A, a CID officer, testified.

A Sh tried to escape from a window to the roof of the building, but police arrested him. He later told police that he was recruited by one of the other suspects to work as a servant for a family in Al Ain, but was allowed to work in the brothel after he failed to pass the health check.

The next hearing is scheduled for June 10.

wissa@thenational.ae