Abu Dhabi, UAE: Human Traffickers Jailed for Life
Monday, April 19, 2010 12:30 PM

The Criminal Court in Abu Dhabi has sentenced seven Syrian men to life in prison for operating Abu Dhabi's largest known human traffcking gang.

This is the first time anyone has been convicted under the "organized criminal gang" clause of Federal Law 51, which requires life imprisonment for human traffickers who are members of organized criminal gangs or have consciously taken part in the activities of such a gang. A life sentence for human trafficking has been issued only once before, in Ras al Khaimah.

Five other Syrian men and one Moroccan woman were sentenced to 10 years each. The group purchased between 14 and 18 women from Morocco and brought them to Abu Dhabi with the promise of well-paid jobs. Once in Abu Dhabi, they were forced to work as prostitutes to pay back the money allegedly spent on bringing them from Morocco. The women reported being locked up, beaten and starved. They were chauffeured under guard to clients in homes and hotel rooms.

The gang's activities came to law enforcement's attention last October when one of the victims escaped the villa in which she was being held and contacted police with a stranger's help.

Compiled from: Marten Youssef & Zoi Constantine, Human traffickers jailed for life, in The National (19 January 2010).