Dubai’s dirty secret
MIDNIGHT in a crowded bar and prostitutes in short skirts and skyscraper heels
are blatantly touting for trade – they do not have to wait long.
Some British tourists approach a couple of the girls, hand over £500 for an
hour of their “company” and head off to a room in a nearby hotel.
There is no doubt the people here are buying and selling sex.
But this sleazy transaction is not taking place in some brothel in Eastern
Europe — this is DUBAI, where the strict Islamic religion
forbids holding hands in public, where homosexuality is illegal and sharing
a bedroom outside marriage will get you banged up.
the United Arab Emirates.
Local women outside may be hidden from public view in burkhas, but inside the
late-night venues are scantily clad call girls of every shape, size,
nationality and ethnicity.
Dubai’s paid-for sex trade is accepted by expats and locals as the norm. Even
the police seemingly turn a blind-eye to the sordid behaviour going on all
around them, despite prostitution being illegal and the strict laws banning
women from dressing “provocatively” in the street.
The oldest profession in the world is actively encouraged in the hotels and
Some provide a free buffet and drinks vouchers for the working girls and
others rent them regular rooms because of the big-spending clientele they
It is not just the hotels making a fortune from the lucrative sex trade.
Zara, 28, earns thousands of pounds from willing punters.
She says: “I go to Dubai a couple of times a year to work in the big hotels.
“Every bar is full of working girls — it’s the hidden culture out there.
“My main clients are businessmen from all parts of the world and local Arabs.
That shocks some people when I tell them.
“The businessmen pay £500 an hour and are just after straight sex.
“Arabs are slightly different because they have an obsession with cleanliness,
so I spend most of the hour in the shower, which I find odd.
“With locals, the sex normally doesn’t last longer than ten minutes.”
She adds: “Businessmen automatically take you for a prostitute in Dubai if you
are a woman alone in a bar and they’ll come and chat.
“I’ve been bought gifts of upwards of £5,000 on some shopping sprees.
“Any money I make I wire back to Britain because you can only take so much out
of the country by law.”
Dubai gives the impression of being a safe holiday hot spot with its plush
hotels, sandy beaches and — thanks to its strict Islamic religion — very
little crime, alcohol or sex.
But behind the windowless bars and clubs, prostitutes are busy plying their
trade. They come from all over — Nigeria, Philippines, China, Thailand,
Europe and Russia.
Work often brings video producer Lloyd Ludgrove, 28, from Welwyn Garden City,
Herts, out here and he has seen Dubai’s dark underbelly.
He says: “The adult industry is booming, which seems mad considering the
“Most Arabs choose to book very pale skinned, blonde escorts and they will
take them shopping for whatever they desire.
“They walk around the shops with bodyguards and expensive shopping bags. You
can see escorts of all nationalities working here. It is so blatant, every
hotel you go to you will see girls sitting at the bars alone, dressed like a
“Some of the girls offer massage services and others are more open with their
“One thing is for sure, they’re not afraid to tout for business.
“I have stayed away from paid-for sex, I have more respect for women than
that. But whatever floats your boat can be found in Dubai and sex for cash
is widely available.
“It is so two-faced. I know a girl who works as a dominatrix — I’m told that’s
all the rage.
“You can earn thousands in one night in the right circles.”
Working girls usually meet up with their wealthy clients in hotels. One
receptionist, who works in a well-known chain, says: “Most of the escorts
advertise their services through Tinder and they don’t try to mask what they
“But you can just meet one in a bar if you prefer the old-fashioned way. There
are plenty of ‘clubs’ about if you’re a guy looking for cheaper women, too.
“In Dubai, it’s all about hooking a rich guy and, generally, sex doesn’t come
Laura, 30, spent a summer escorting there after a friend mentioned how much
money she could make.
She says: “After a month escorting full-time I returned home with thousands of
pounds and some lovely gifts.
“While a few punters asked me to meet them in their hotel lobbies, most hosted
lavish private parties and treated me as a VIP.
“When I did go to hotels, the staff turned a blind eye to what was going on.
“It’s crazy when you think you’re not allowed to drink or hold hands in
public, but it’s all about money and power over there.
“The more high-class escorts the hotels get in, the more rich men will follow
to spend their cash.
“I was never turned away from a hotel, even though I’m pretty sure they knew
what I was doing there.” Stefani even prepares a free buffet for the
prostitutes who keep the punters spending in the hotel sports bar where she
She says: “All the girls are for sale in this place. Working girls are part of
the culture, even though it is officially illegal.
“We provide them with a drinks voucher so they can hang out until they get a
client. Some girls see four or five men on an evening.”
As the night goes on, most men move on to clubs inside the hotels and shopping
In Dubai, “Ladies Night” is a code name for the many prostitutes on offer. The
sheikhs tend to sit apart from the women, but keep a watchful eye over the
Dubai’s sleazy side is something tourist Simon gradually became aware of on
his holidays here.
The 21-year-old, from Chelmsford, Essex, says: “Although I come for the sun
and parties, there are lots of seedy places here and prostitution is rife.
In some hotels there are around five girls to every guy.
“My company often send English workers over on short business trips and they
can’t wait to get themselves an escort for a few days — even if they’re
“Dubai has really developed a reputation as a provider of easy and open sex,
despite all their rules and regulations. You have to assume that every girl
here is an escort, because the vast majority of them are.”
They flout the law and risk prison because there is so much to be made from
Simon adds: “There’s a really huge amount of wealth here which makes people
think they are invincible.
“As long as there are women available on tap, men will keep spending their
cash on sex.
“One of my mates told me about a time when a hooker was banging on his hotel
room door offering him whatever he wanted.
“At some point they will have to crack down on it, before it pushes
holidaymakers and families away for good.”
DUBAI sells itself as a fun holiday destination but it follows strict
Muslim laws. These include:
– Women should dress modestly when in public areas such as shopping
malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs and underwear
should not be visible.
– Swimming attire should be worn only on beaches or at swimming pools.
– Sex outside marriage is illegal, even if you are engaged. If any
offenders are brought to the attention of the UAE authorities they run the
risk of six years in jail. a fine and deportation.
– Homosexual relationships are illegal.
– It is against the law to live together or share a hotel room with
someone of the opposite sex to whom you are not married or closely related.
– Public displays of affection – kissing, cuddling, holding hands – are
not allowed even in expat bars.
Banged up Brits
BRITS who are not sex workers have also fallen foul of Dubai’s laws,
including these high-profile cases:
– Recruitment consultant Rebecca Blake, 29, from Dorking, Surrey, and
Irishman Conor McRedmond, 30, were found guilty of having sex in a taxi
after drinking all day. They got three months in a Dubai jail then were
deported, in November 2012.
– In July 2008, Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, and Vince
Acors, 34, of Bromley, Kent, got three months in prison then were deported,
after being convicted of having sex on the beach.