The Plight of Poor Foreign Women in the UAE

The promise of gainful employment in a prosperous country and the desire to escape out of poverty is deeply rooted in every human being. But in this desire to pursue these worldly ambitions, man tends to become blind-sighted – unable to sense the red flags that are are evident. In this blind pursuit, the person gets caught in a quandary that he/she cannot easily get out of.

As discussed in The Exploitation of Migrant Workers, foreign nationionals who come to the UAE are poorly treated. This problem is even more severe when women come to this country. Cunning opportunists take advantage of this lust for wealth; soliciting innocent women with the lure of jobs only to send them straight to a brothel. Faced with complete hopelessness, these defenseless girls eventually become submissive to the demands of their captors. It has become a norm in the UAE to import underage girls, some as young as 12, to perform domestic duties and subsequently be forced into prostitution.

Transformation Of Dubai

As Dubai transitioned from being a closed society to becoming the world’s melting pot where people from all walks of life could coalesce for businesses and pleasure, so did its treatment towards vulnerable, weak women with no place to turn to.

A report by the Guardian in 2010 suggests that the majority of prostitutes working in the UAE are forced into the grotesque business, with a workforce of 30,000 female sex workers in Dubai alone. This begs the question: what is being done to prevent these heinous crimes being committed against helpless women?

Ewa’s Shelter – Beacon Of Hope
Under the guidance of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), a rehabilitation center called Ewa’s Shelter was founded in 2008. The aim of the center is to provide relief, awareness, therapy and education to women that fall prey to human trafficking. The stories that the shelter shares talk of unimaginable cruelty being meted out to these women who were treated as little more than pieces of flesh that could be used and discarded at will.

These women often face the threat of getting disowned from their family members after disclosing the horrors that befell them. This makes the process of restoring their mental faculties all the more difficult; in order to help these victims regain their faith in humanity, the shelter also sends money as remittances to their family in their home countries.  

The stories these women tell will curdle your blood. One victim was subjected to hours of sexual torture by multiple men. There is no relief for them.

Good Business For Hotels
Hotels don’t mind the gain in business and financial benefits that prostitution brings to their enterprise. In fact, most of them work hand in hand with human trafficking agencies, offering women free food and drinks if they perform long hours of services. The business is so rampant that you can find many reviews on TripAdvisor freely discussing which hotels offer the best services for illegally soliciting women.

The most vulnerable nationals are women from East Asia who are often forced into prostitution by coercion from massage parlors. Refusal to obey orders often times result in physical and sexual abuse. Often times there is no place to turn to. Will the regulatory bodies of the UAE step up their game to grapple sex trafficking or will they just address this societal blight superfluously in useless awareness ad campaigns on TV? We hope it will be the former.