Bail denied to two accused of trafficking

DUBAI // A man and woman accused of luring two Nigerian women to Dubai with the promise of work and then forcing them into prostitution begged to be granted bail yesterday. "I've been here for months," said the female defendant, J A, who is 32. "We need to go. I have got two children." Her co-defendant, A G, 32, said, "Please, your honour, please release us."

The judge denied their request, saying they should ask for bail through their lawyer. J A is accused of approaching the two victims, N L, 23, and J I, 22, in Nigeria. They told police they were approached by the female defendant and offered work in Dubai as waitresses for an African-themed restaurant. They said J A organised their passports and bought them clothes and make-up before flying them to Dubai.

When they arrived, the victims say their passports were taken away and they were forced into a prostitution ring. They said they were sent to Dubai and Abu Dhabi nightclubs to solicit customers in order to pay J A US$20,000 (Dh73,000) in exchange for their freedom. Records show one of the girls has also accused A G of raping her. J A and A G, who worked as a security guard, denied charges of human trafficking when they appeared in Dubai's Criminal Court of First Instance last month.

A G also denied raping J I. The lawyer representing the defendants yesterday asked the court to present ownership records for the three mobile phone numbers prosecutors claim were used by the defendants in the crimes. He also asked the court to present the prosecution witness, an Emirati arresting officer, for cross-examination. Both defendants remain in custody, and the court will reconvene on October 25.

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