Eight arrested in RAK for kidnapping and forcing new arrivals into prostitution

Gang believed to have forced three women, two Asians and one African,aged 20 to 25, to work as prostitutes.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Eight men who allegedly kidnapped women who came to the UAE to work in legitimate jobs and forced them into prostitution have been arrested, Ras al Khaimah Police said yesterday. The gang is believed to have forced three women, two Asians and one African, between the ages of 20 and 25, to work as prostitutes.

The men were arrested, police said, after one of their victims got hold of a mobile phone. Police arrested two gang members in a sting operation on January 21. The suspects entered RAK to collect money from a cousin of the woman, who contacted the gang in co-operation with police and told them she would pay to see her cousin. Police believe the gang planned to kidnap the cousin too. The other suspects were detained five days later, in co-ordination with Dubai police, at two flats in another emirate where they kept their victims.

The alleged gangsters have been charged with human trafficking, abduction, adultery, sexual assault, making death threats, incitement to prostitution, violating residency law and forging business cards. One of the women told police she travelled to the UAE after being hired by an Emirati man in Khor Khwair to work as a maid. Police said when she arrived at the airport, a driver working for the gang apparently did not deliver her to the sponsor, but brought her to a flat and threatened to kill her if she refused to have sex with him. After she refused, he and other gang members allegedly sexually assaulted her repeatedly over several days.

But when one of the gang members accidentally left his mobile phone behind in the flat, she contacted relatives in her home country. The family then contacted a cousin working as a maid in RAK, who notified the woman's sponsor. He contacted the RAK Police. The sponsor is not a suspect in the case. None of the women were charged with any crimes. Police said they believed the gang operated in the UAE for six months and abducted women with different sponsors.

Major Gen Sheikh Talib bin Saqr, the head of RAK Police, pledged to support the national strategy to combat human trafficking and support its victims, irrespective of their country of origin. @Email:azacharias@thenational.ae