Dubai: An Iraqi and his wife have been jailed after a court convicted them of sexually exploiting a teenage girl to work as an exotic dancer and sex worker.
The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the 52-year-old electrician, R.A., and his 45-year-old wife, A.I., to three years in jail each followed by deportation.
Presiding Judge Al Saeed Mohammad Barghout, who pronounced Tuesday's judgment, also sentenced a 26-year-old Iraqi salesman, H.M., to a year in jail followed by deportation for aiding and abetting the couple.
The court pardoned a 25-year-old Iraqi housewife, B.A., from serving a punishment, which the judge did not specify. She had refuted the charge of failing to report the couple to the authorities.
The couple had earlier denied buying the 17-year-old girl from her parents in Iraq and forcing her to work as an exotic dancer and prostitute in Dubai.
The teenager recounted in court earlier: "I lived with my family in Iraq when A.I. contacted my mother who sold me for 4 million Iraqi dinars (Dh12,769). I didn't see the sale process [with] my own eyes, but I wasn't told that I would be working as an exotic dancer or a prostitute. A.I. forged a passport which they used to fly me into Dubai."
R.A. and A.I. denied buying 17-year-old, Z.A., from her parents and beating and compelling her to work as an exotic dancer and prostitute in Dubai.
Recollecting her ordeal before the jury, Z.A. said she stayed at the couple's house for nearly two months before she was beaten and forced to sleep with men against her will.
"I was brought alone to the country in 2005 and R.A. and his 26-year-old compatriot salesman, H.M., picked me [up] from the airport. R.A. and A.I. exploited me sexually. They used to beat and drive me to villas where I was asked to dance [and] then sleep with men," the teenager claimed.
Asked by the judge about the period during which she was compelled into prostitution, she said: "I don't recall exactly, but it was between three to four years and they never paid me [a] penny".
Z.A. also testified the defendants used to pay H.M. to drive her to the villas.