The ringleader of a Syrian prostitute-smuggling ring in the United Arab Emirates has been jailed for life.An Abu Dhabi court found the man, identified by his initials SS, guilty of luring women to the UAE from Morocco and forcing them to work in brothels.
In January 13 Syrians were also jailed for being part of the same ring.
The ringleader was reported to have fled the country while his accomplices were arrested, but he was picked by the police when he returned to the country.
The man’s wife was one of the main witnesses for the prosecution.
She told the court he had forced her into prostitution three months after they married.BeatenThe Moroccan women – some as young as 19 – had been lured with the promise of well-paid work.
The women were told they had to work as prostitutes to pay back the money it had allegedly cost to bring them from Morocco.
They said they had been locked up, beaten, starved and then chauffeured under guard to clients in hotels and homes.
Abu Dhabi police raided three flats after one of the women escaped from a villa in Al Bateen, where she was being held, in October last year.
The ringleader was initially convicted in absentia after he fled, but was given a retrial after his capture.
More than one million people, the majority of them women and children, are smuggled across international borders to work in near slavery every year, the US state department says.
Its 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report lists more than 170 countries which it claims are not doing enough to tackle the problem.
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