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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Gang who forced teenage girl into prostitution jailed

Human traffickers lured 16-year-old to the country with promise of job offer

A gang of human traffickers who forced a teenage girl into prostitution after luring her to the UAE with the promise of a job have been sentenced to a total of 17 years in jail.

The criminal quartet – three men and a woman – convinced the 16-year-old Bangladeshi to apply for a passport and lie about her age so she could travel alone, promising to find her work so she could care for her sick parents.

But when the girl arrived in Dubai from her home in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka she was told she would be working as a prostitute – and was warned she would go to prison due to the money she owed for her travel costs if she did not agree.

The female defendant had found the girl in Dhaka, where she was looking for work.

“I told her I would love to work anywhere as long as I would be able to care for my sick parents, but that I didn't have money to issue a passport or buy a ticket,” the teen said in records.

The woman took her number and called her a few days later, informing her that someone would call her from Dubai in relation to a job offer.

“A (second) woman called me saying she would issue me a visa and wire me enough cash to get a passport and buy a ticket, but said that I would have to give a false age for the passport, which I did.”

After obtaining her passport and sending a copy of it to the woman in Dubai, the teen received a copy of her visa.

She was then advised to go to a specific travel agent in Dhaka to obtain her ticket.

When she arrived in Dubai on May 3, she was picked up by one of the three male defendants, also from Bangladesh, and taken to an apartment where she stayed for three days.

“I was given some medicine, and then taken to a different apartment where I was told I would have to work in prostitution.

“When I refused, they threatened to send me to jail because of the money I owed them for getting me here.”

She worked as a prostitute for eight days, before police acting on a tip-off raided the apartment.

Police referred the teen to Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

“One of our sources sent us a WhatsApp image of the female defendant alongside the teen, which had been sent out to announce to customers the arrival of a new girl to the brothel,” said an Emirati second lieutenant.

Police investigated before obtaining an arrest warrant and swooping on the brothel in Al Muhaisnah, in the Deira area of Dubai.

“We discovered that the female defendant had previously been deported, but had re-entered the UAE illegally by sea two years ago,” said the officer.

All four defendants were convicted of human trafficking and jailed for four years each.

The woman was additionally convicted of working as a prostitute and was sentenced to an additional six months in prison.

Two of the men, aged 30 and 35, were also convicted of running a brothel and facilitating prostitution.

The third man, 42, was also convicted of having consensual sex outside of wedlock with the woman defendant and was sentenced to an extra six months in jail.

All four are due to be deported after serving their prison terms, but can appeal the sentence within two weeks.