Dubai: Two businessmen and a woman have been accused of locking up five female visitors, who were brought to work as housemaids, in a flat for up to one month.
An agency that hires domestic helpers was said to have flown in five Filipinas on visit visas to employ them as housemaids in Dubai in August.
On August 19, Dubai Police were informed that a woman fell from a building and fractured her hips while trying to escape using a rope of blankets.
Investigations revealed that the Filipina had been locked up for four weeks in a flat in the building, according to records.
Investigators discovered that the flat belonged to an agency that recruits domestic helpers and that around five women had been confined in the flat for around a month.
Police apprehended the agency’s owner, an Egyptian businessman, his Jordanian partner and a Filipina woman who worked for them. Prosecutors accused the three suspects of illegally confining the five Filipinas in a flat under threat, assault and coercion.
According to the charges, prosecutors said the Egyptian, Jordanian and Filipina suspects beat the five women and threatened them and kept them confined in the agency’s premises after they had been rejected and returned by their employers.
The Filipina suspect pleaded not guilty and refuted the charges before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday.
The two male suspects also pleaded not guilty and contended before presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi that they were outside the country at the time when the alleged incident happened.
The five Filipinas’ lawyer lodged a civil lawsuit in which his clients are seeking Dh21,000 in temporary compensation each.
One of the locked up Filipinas told prosecutors that the agency flew her in to Dubai on a visit visa in March.
“I was brought here and was supposed to work on a trial period for a particular family … the employer sent me back to the agency and did not want to hire me as a housemaid. After that potential employer returned me, the Jordanian and Egyptian suspects slapped me and beat me. They kept me locked in the agency for weeks and did not allow me to go out or use the phone. My countrywomen and I were only permitted to go to the kitchen of that flat [agency premises] … we were constantly assaulted and threatened. The suspects also threatened us and warned us against trying to run away or we will be harmed. We were confined for different periods … I was locked up around a month and other women were confined between two to three weeks. We agreed to make a rope of blankets by tying them together and climb ourselves out through the window … while climbing down, one of us fell down and got injured then police were called,” she testified to prosecutors.
The Filipina, who fell down, claimed to prosecutors that she suffered a fractured hip while climbing down the window.
“The Filipina suspect used to accompany one of us to help her carry goods from the store during shopping,” she testified.
Presiding judge Al Shamsi said the court reconvenes when the suspects hire lawyers to defend them on November 18.