x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Woman 'forced into prostitution contracted hepatitis', Dubai court hears

A Moldovan woman was lured to the country by human-traffickers with a promise of a job as a dancer, a Dubai court hears.

DUBAI // A woman who was lured to the country with a promise of a job as a dancer was forced into prostitution and contracted hepatitis, a court heard yesterday.

The Dubai Criminal Court heard that the 23-year-old Moldovian DL was tricked into coming to Dubai by four women who live in the emirate and a woman in her native country.

The Moldovian said she was working in an internet shopping company earning a wage of less than US$200 for six months when she noticed an advert on the web looking for dancers to work in Dubai. "The ad said the pay was very tempting," she said.

She contacted the number in the advert and was directed to meet a woman at a restaurant in Moldova's capital Chisinau for an interview.

"She told me I would dance at a restaurant in a Dubai hotel and would be paid well and provided with accommodation and a driver," said the woman, who was told she would also require dancing lessons.

She then travelled to another Moldovan city where she met MA, a 64-year-old Russian, with whom she stayed for five days while her visa was arranged. The two women then flew to Dubai on January 27 this year.

The woman was taken to an apartment in Mutaina where she was introduced to three more women - AM, a 51-year-old Azerbaijani; DH, a 43-year-old Ukrainian; OS, a 49-year-old Azerbaijani - who took her passport and told her she would stay there while they prepared her for work.

The next day she was introduced to a number of men and told she must have sex with them for money.

"I never imagined I would be in such a situation," said the woman, who began crying and begged to be sent back to Moldova.

Eventually she gave in and began to prostitute herself, but continued to argue with her four employers and demanded to be left alone. She was then moved to another brothel where she met two prostitutes who told her there was no way of escape.

"I was so depressed that I was getting closer to the idea of suicide," said the woman. She said she was forced to have sex with at least ten men per day.

She said that she managed to get in touch with police by using the mobile phone of one of her customers, the majority of whom were from Pakistan and Bangladesh. She left a voice message explaining her ordeal.

Police raided the brothel about a week later and rescued the woman, who was found to be suffering from chronic hepatitis which she contracted from one of her customers.

AM, DH, OS and MA have all been charged with human trafficking. AM, DH and OS are separately charged with running a brothel. DH and OS are also facing a charge of locking the woman up against her will knowing she would be forced into prostitution. AM and MA were charged with aiding and abetting DH and OS.

None of the women entered a plea in court. They were informed that the presence of a defence lawyer was required in all human trafficking cases.

The case was adjourned to October 14.

salamir@thenational.ae