Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Nine human trafficking suspects to stand trial in Bahrain

If convicted, the suspects could face up to 15 years in prison

The Bahrain Central Bank said the directive was issued to ensure “sound and fair banking practices" in the country. Getty
The Bahrain Central Bank said the directive was issued to ensure “sound and fair banking practices" in the country. Getty

Nine people suspected of human trafficking will face trial in Bahrain next month after an investigation found more than 20 women were exploited and kept against their will.

The organisation was headed by a Bahraini suspect and also involved four women from Kazakhstan, prosecutors said.

At least one of the victims was also from Khazakstan, the Kazakh Consulate said.

It said one of its citizens was tortured and forced into prostitution. Twenty other victims were identified in a subsequent investigation by Bahrain’s anti-human trafficking police, the state news service Bahrain News Agency reported.

Police also recovered about 200,000 Bahraini dinar (Dh2 million) and drugs.

The trial is due to begin on March 3 at the High Criminal Court, Chief Prosecutor Nawaf Al Awadhi told Bahrain News Agency.

The Bahrain government has cracked down on sex trafficking in recent years. Those convicted of it can face between three and 15 years in prison, fines of up to 10,000 Bahraini dinar and bear the cost of repatriating their victims.

Article 325 of Bahrain’s penal code recommends sentences of between two and seven years for forced prostitution and three to 10 years if the victim is a minor.

In 2019, the country’s interior ministry reported 19 potential cases of trafficking, 16 for sex trafficking and three for forced labour, a drop from the 2018 figure of 31, the US State Department found.

The victims were taken to a shelter for medical and psychological care, Mr Al Awadhi said.

Updated: February 23, 2020 05:31 PM

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