x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Three on traficking charges

Police have arrested three men of Eastern European origin on charges of human trafficking and forcing women into prostitution.

DUBAI // Police have arrested three men of Eastern European origin on charges of human trafficking and forcing women into prostitution. They lured women from their own countries to the UAE with the promise of jobs in the hospitality or retail sector, but instead held them prisoners as prostitutes in brothels in Deira, planning to sell them on for Dh5,000 (US$1,360), a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) source said. The gang threatened to kill them if they talked, police added. "We rescued two women that the men wanted to sell on for Dh5,000 and in the process we have stopped the men from ruining more lives by bringing more women in on false pretences," the source said yesterday. "The women were also forced into prostitution before the men attempted to sell them," the spokesperson said, adding that the gang had given away details of other human trafficking networks operating in the region. The women were kept in poor conditions without any money and had their passports confiscated. The gang told the women that they would be killed if they tried to approach the authorities for help. The arrests came after a week-long investigation into the gang that included wire tapping and surveillance by the CID's unit to combat organised crime after a tip-off from the public. Police officers posing as buyers contacted the gang and arranged to meet them at a hotel in the Naif district late last month. "As soon as the exchange was made, uniformed officers stormed in and arrested the two operatives," said the CID spokesperson. The next day the police stormed the gang's hideout and arrested the third man. "The girls in such cases are victims of their circumstances due to problems with family and with children that they need to support by getting an honest job here," said Col Khalil al Mansouri, the CID's director general. The rescued women are being cared for by the Dubai Charity Association, a non-governmental organisation. "The women were exploited by the gang that claimed they are capable of assisting and providing job opportunities for them. They were too scared to contact the police and report their abusers," said Col al Mansouri. He described such crimes as being "outside the scope of humanity". Last month three Indian men were arrested for allegedly imprisoning four women in a flat in Al Muraqabat and forcing them into prostitution. The recent spate of arrests follows a directive to police and judicial authorities by Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and head of the UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, to vigorously pursue suspected human traffickers. In 2008 police made 16 arrests involving human trafficking, with more than 50 suspects charged. shafez@thenational.ae