Dubai in United Arab Emirates a centre of human trafficking and prostitution

Oct 05 2017
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Imagine if you were told of well-paid work in a new country, far from your impoverished home. Once you arrived, you learned the only way to make the promised money was through prostitution. That’s what happened to 24-year-old Ethiopian Tsega*.

She sits on a bar stool in a dark basement bar in the old quarter of Dubai, dressed in a short skirt. Her hair is bleached.

“I started working in a supermarket, but life is so expensive here,” she says.

Tsega’s fate is shared with thousands of women in the United Arab Emirates. The country, and especially Dubai, one of the seven emirates, is known as a centre for prostitution and sex tourism in the Middle East.

Some estimates have as many as 30,000 sex workers in Dubai alone.

It is one of the many in the emirate where prostitutes offer their services openly, even though prostitution is strictly forbidden in the UAE and sharia courts can impose flogging as punishment.

 For Tsega, there wasn’t any money left from her monthly salary of 5000 Emirati dirhams ($1980) to send home to her sick mother. Now she earns about 20,000 dirhams a month.