Dubai: A maid has been jailed for five years for bringing her 15-year-old relative to Dubai, locking her up in a flat and forcing her into prostitution.
The Bangladeshi maid and her two countrymen, aged 34 and 27, forged papers and travel documents in which they showed the 15-year-old girl’s age as 25 to be able to fly her to Oman from Bangladesh.
They then smuggled her and other girls by car from Oman to Dubai, locked her up in a flat and made her work in the sex trade.
The Bangladeshi male defendants were also jailed for five years each.
On Wednesday, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the Bangladeshi trio of sexually exploiting the teenaged girl, forging her travel documents and using the forged documents. They were also found guilty of running a brothel in a flat. The Bangladeshi woman was also convicted of working in prostitution.
Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi also fined the defendants Dh100,000 each.
“The flat [that was being run as a brothel] will be permanently locked unless the Public Prosecution decides otherwise and will only be reopened for legitimate purposes. The trio will be deported after serving their punishment,” said presiding judge Al Shamsi.
The 34-year-old defendant was sentenced in absentia.
The teenager is the stepdaughter of the maid’s sister.
Dubai Police’s anti-human trafficking department was alerted by an informant about a flat being used as a brothel in Freej Al Marar.
When police raided the flat, they found the teenager, the maid, three prostitutes and the 27-year-old accused.
The 27-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty.
The maid pleaded innocent and contended that it was the absconder who ran the brothel in the flat and forced the girls into prostitution. “I used to live in the flat and work there as a prostitute,” she argued.
The teenager said she was promised work as a maid in Dubai.
“My mother passed away 10 years ago and my father married the female defendant’s sister. When my dad fell ill, my stepmother called up her sister [the defendant] and asked her to help me find a job in Dubai. My stepmother borrowed money from our neighbours and the defendants arranged for a forged passport to help me fly to Oman. A person picked me up from the airport in Oman and there were other girls present with us. When we reached Dubai, I was kept in a flat with the suspect [stepmother’s sister]. I was forced to work in prostitution … I also learnt from the other prostitutes that the absconder had sent money to my family. I called my stepmother and she confirmed that the 34-year-old had sent her money. They used to transfer me from one flat to another. One day, the flat supervisor saw a number of men on the CCTV cameras coming towards the door … she asked us to hide. Police then freed me and arrested everybody,” testified the 15-year-old.
Three women, two Bangladeshis and an Indonesian, told prosecutors that they worked as prostitutes in the flat.
Wednesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.