Pair try to sell maid on WhatsApp after she refuses to work in prostitution, court hears

The maid was asked to work in prostitution after being lured to abscond from her sponsor, but she refused

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A maid who was lured to abscond from her sponsor for a better paying job and then asked to work in prostitution but refused, ended up being offered for sale on WhatsApp, heard Dubai Criminal Court.

Records show that the Ethiopian maid, whose age was not mentioned, arrived in Abu Dhabi in October last year. Eight months later she was persuaded by an Indonesian fellow maid to abscond and head to Dubai.

"She told me that her friend can pick us up and that he already arranged for better paying jobs, she said we could make up to Dh3,000 a day, I asked her what kind of job that was but she never gave me details," the victim said.

In June this year, the two women were picked up from their sponsor's home at 4:30am by the two Bangladeshi defendants, who took them to an apartment in Al Karma area in Dubai where she found a number of women.

The following day, she said, the defendants bought her new clothes. "They told me it's for work, when I saw them I panicked, they were all short and indecent. I asked what kind of work requires me to dress like that and they told me that it's prostitution.

"I refused, no matter what they did or said, I refused and demanded that I be sent back to my sponsor or be found another maid's job," the Ethiopian said.

For about 10 days, the men tried to change her mind and when she would not, they started sending WhatsApp messages to customers offering an Ethiopian maid for sale in return for Dh3,500.

"We were tipped about the message and a police officer contacted the defendants pretending to be interested in buying the woman. He agreed with them on Dh3,400 after they sent him a picture of her and the three decided to meet in Al Karma park so he could pay them and take her," said an Emirait police lieutenant.

He said that three men arrived to meet with the undercover policeman, two of them were arrested while the third fled.

"The 25-year-old defendant admitted that he asked his Indonesian girlfriend, who worked with the victim, to convince her to abscond so they could work in prostitution, he also said that he had been deported twice and managed to get back illegally," the officer said.

The defendant said that his role was to provide customers by distributing fake massage cards in return for Dh90 per day.

His fellow accused allegedly confessed to prosecutors but told them that the man who escaped was the mastermind. "I didn't pick her up, the other two did, but when she refused to prostitute herself, the at-large defendant asked me to sell her," the 30-year-old said.

Records showed that he was offered Dh500 to sell the woman.

Police raided the defendants' residence and found contraceptives and money transfer receipts which police believe were used in prostitution.

Both men denied charges of human trafficking and facilitating prostitution. The next hearing will be on October 8.