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Abu Dhabi: Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeals upheld a five-year prison sentence for a Bahraini, who was convicted along with his girlfriend of money laundering of 179,000 dinars, the proceeds of a prostitution network, local media reported.

The man, who led a human trafficking gang of nine, and four other members including three women, were jailed for seven years each for human trafficking, the Bahraini criminal court has ruled.

The convicts used money laundering as a means to cover up prostitution, the higher court ruled.

Initially, the money laundering was not discovered and the convicts only faced prostitution charges.

The convicts were found guilty of luring women and forcing them to work as prostitutes, according to court documents.

Members of the gang were fined BD10,000 each and bear the cost of flying the victims to their home countries.

The three Kazakh women were ordered deported after serving their terms.

The gang leader was also sentenced an extra year for consuming drugs.

Police were tipped off by the Kazakhstan’s embassy in Bahrain, that a woman had been assaulted and forced to work as a prostitute.

The anti-human trafficking department investigations led to the victim and 20 other female victims, all lured and forced to work as prostitutes.

The gang of nine, including three Kazakhistani women, was led by a Bahraini man, who assigned them to lure the victims, welcome them and withhold their passports and cell phones upon arrival to Bahrain, police said.

A gang member, who owns a hotel, was tasked to arrange the women accommodation once they arrive to Bahrain, while the four women promote prostitution and force the victim to offer sex.

The gang leader also ordered the women to beat up the victims if they refused to work hard and raise huge money, according the court documents.

Medical reports showed the victims were tourtured severely by the gang members.

Eventually, a victim has managed to report her ordeal to her country’s embassy.

On sensing danger, the gang leader ordered the woman to immediately fly home, but the police found her in time and took her testimony at the airport.

The police raided the brothel, rescued the women and caught the gang members. The police confiscated BD200,000, an unidentified quantity of narcotics and a safe containing the passports of the victims.