x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Women forced masseuses into prostitution, court hears

Two were hired to work at parlor but then threatened into offering sex, records show

DUBAI // Two women this morning denied charges of human trafficking and forced prostitution in the massage centre where they worked.

One suspect, SA, 40, was accused in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance of terrorizing two women, ages 31 and 32, from Thailand, and forcing them into offering sexual favours to men. Records said that when the victims refused, SA asked a policeman friend to intimidate them them.

The other suspect, GS, 38, is accused of aiding and abetting her on all charges.

Police raided the apartment on August 18, 2010, after one of the victims ran away and reported the operation.

According to court records, SA and GS, both from China, were running a women’s and men’s salon and massage centre, to which the victims were lured into working as masseuses in Dubai.

When both women arrived at the Dubai airport, it is alleged that SA and her son, who is at large and identified in records as YY, met them and seized their passports.

Prosecutors said SA and her son locked up the victims and forced them to work seven days a week, 16 hours a day and threatened to withhold their salaries.

According to records SA and another suspect at large, not identified in records, abused a male worker at the salon, also from Thailand, and took advantage of debts to force him into having sex with men.

He told prosecutors he started working at the centre three months before police raided it.

One of the female victims told prosecutors that after she graduated from a massage institute in Thailand, she was approached by a woman and offered a job in Dubai for Dh1,800 per month plus commission. She said she took the offer because she had a child who needs support.

She added that she arrived on February 4, 2010, and worked in the salon for one month before being forced to perform "sexual massages" in an apartment in a building owned by SA.

GS, who was managing the two massaging centres, allegedly threatened to cut her salary after she turned down three male customers who were looking for a sexual massage, records said.

salamir@thenational.ae