Dubai: Six men will be jailed for life for trafficking two maids, forcing them into prostitution and confining them in a room before one fell to her death while escaping.
The six Bangladeshi men, aged between 25 and 44, bought and sold the two Indonesian maids between themselves, and locked them up in the rooftop room of a building in Dubai during November 2015.
Four of the men raped the two women while they were confined and forced them to have sex with strangers for money that they pocketed.
In May, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed each of the six defendants for life for human trafficking, sexual exploitation, rape, kidnap, confinement, assault and running a brothel at Dubai International City.
Three of them — a salesman, a jobless man and a businessman — were fined Dh100,000 each.
The six appealed the verdicts before the Appeal Court and sought to have their punishment reduced.
On Wednesday, presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm dismissed the six appeals and upheld the life imprisonment of all accused.
Three convicts also had their Dh100,000 fines confirmed.
“The defendants will be deported following the completion of their punishments,” said presiding judge Bin Sarm in courtroom 20.
The six accused were part of an organised group of human traffickers, who forced the Indonesian women to work in the sex trade unwillingly.
Two of the defendants kidnapped the maids when they trespassed into their sponsor’s villa in Al Rashidiya in 2015, dragged them out and forced them into a car and drove away.
Then they sold them to two other defendants to exploit them sexually and the women were confined in different places and forced into prostitution. The victims were also beaten and threatened to be killed if they refused to have sex with strange men.
The defendants tricked the women when they picked them up from the street on the pretext of having them hired as maids.
One of the women was confined in a flat that was being run as a brothel. The other woman was locked up in a rooftop room of a seven-storey building and fell to her death while she was trying to abscond.
Four of the defendants raped the women as well.
When the defendants appeared in court, they pleaded not guilty to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The defendants contended before the court that the women worked in prostitution willingly.
One of the defendants, aged 25, told prosecutors that he was contacted by another defendant, who offered to sell the women for Dh2,000.
“I informed him that I only had Dh1,000 … the other defendant also wanted me to make the women work in the sex trade for a Dh2,000 monthly salary. Then he agreed to sell me the women for Dh1,000 and against a Dh1,500 monthly salary. The two women moved into my car and they were crying. While we were in the car, the women told me that they had been raped by the other defendant who had sold them and one of his friends [also another defendant],” the 25-year-old was cited as telling prosecutors.
Medical reports confirmed that the deceased woman died of a broken neck.
Wednesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 30 days.