DUBAI // A carpenter faces multiple counts of human trafficking in a case that left one victim paralysed after she fell from a balcony while trying to escape.
SR, 28, a Bangladeshi, was charged yesterday in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance with seven counts of human trafficking, illegal confinement, forced enclosure and operating a brothel. He denied all the charges at the hearing before Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy.
The woman, NB, 21, fell three storeys and broke her back as she climbed down a makeshift rope from the apartment where she and six others were being held, prosecutors said.
But a police officer told prosecutors that when they found her lying on the ground, they also saw half the rope dangling from the balcony and went to investigate the apartment.
Public prosecutors accuse SR of being part of an organised ring of human traffickers. Records show police claim that people from Pakistan, India and Indonesia, all of whom remain at large, were also involved.
The seven victims - from Indonesia, Bangladesh and India - were aged from 21 to 31.
"I came to the UAE on September 20, 2009, and worked for an Emirati family," said NW, a 23-year-old Indonesian woman. "I escaped after the sponsor's wife mistreated me and I was offered a job by an Indonesian woman at a supermarket."
NW was taken to meet an Indian man who, according to prosecutors, was the ring leader. Records show she was sold to him on June 7, beaten and forced into prostitution.
"I met NB when I was first brought in, and on the day of the [falling] incident, she told me that she was beaten by SR and had been repeatedly raped by [the Indian man] and she wanted to escape," she said. "While we talked about this [the Indian] broke into the room and separated us.
"She came back after everyone was asleep, and tied a makeshift rope to the balcony and climbed down. The rope broke and I heard a fall. I looked over and saw her in a pool of blood lying still. I screamed and saw people gather and the police arrived."
One of the responding policeman said: "We found SR hiding in the basement and the girls from the apartment scattered, trying to escape."
The court adjourned the case until December 8.