Sunday, March 5, 2017

DUBAI: Jail terms increased from 3 to 5 years for sex workers

'Two women, who lured their three countrywomen with bogus job offers and coerced them into prostitution, have had their three-year jail terms increased to five years on Wednesday.
File photo
The Moroccan women, aged 22 and 39, tricked their compatriots, aged between 20 and 27, and made them sign security cheques against promises of getting them hired at a salon and a sports club in October 2015.
After the women were flown into Dubai one at a time, the two female defendants withheld their passports, kept them in a flat in Al Muraqqabat and then forced them to have sex with strangers in different hotels for money.
In November, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the defendants for three years each for exploiting the victims sexually and forcing them into prostitution.
They were also convicted of working in prostitution.The two defendants appealed their three-year jail terms before the Appeals Court and sought reduced punishment.
Meanwhile prosecutors asked the appellate court to stiffen the punishments.Presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm accepted prosecutors’ appeal and increased the imprisonment to five years in jail for each of the defendants.
According to Wednesday’s ruling, the Moroccan convicts will be deported after serving their jail terms.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty and denied sexually exploiting their countrywomen and working in prostitution.The defendants exploited their countrywomen’s need for a job and made them sign security cheques worth Dh34,000 before forcing them to have sex with men.
A 21-year-old victim said she came to work in a gym in Abu Dhabi, but the defendants took her passport away.
“They took me first to a flat where they kept me and coerced me to work in prostitution. I refused from the beginning … but later they forced me to do it. The 39-year-old accused beat me with a shisha hose pulled my hair and assaulted me. 
I grudgingly agreed after she blackmailed me that she would use the security cheque against me and that she would inform my family in Morocco that I was working in prostitution. One day I escaped and took refuge at a friend’s place before I reported the matter to Dubai Police’s human rights section,” she testified.
A 20-year-old woman victim testified that she was flown into Dubai in the same manner.
“I needed to come to Dubai to work so the 39-year-old [through an acquaintance] made me sign a security cheque after she promised to have me hired in a salon against a Dh3,000 salary. When I arrived, they kept my passport and forced me into prostitution under coercion. The also blackmailed me that they would use the cheque and send my photos to my family,” she claimed.
A lieutenant at Dubai Police’s anti-human trafficking section said the defendants were arrested after they raided their flat in Al Muraqqabat.
Wednesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 30 days.'


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