Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the UAE


Dubai is a famous tourist destination in the Gulf that is known for its skyscrapers, fast cars, posh restaurants, magnificent artificial islands, and desert safaris. The country has a strict Islam law whereby public display of affection, indecent clothes, and alcohol are not allowed on the streets. However, these ‘sins’ are allowed and even accepted as a norm inside the late night venues such as the Ras Al Kahimah.

Amusement Park in Dubai

What’s shocking is that the nightclubs mostly harbors women that have been trafficked from different countries unwilling to trade in flesh. A 24-year old Ethiopian woman told an investigative committee how she was duped into entering the city by a sex trade ring who told her that she would be well-paid in city. However, once she arrived in the city, she learned that she had to sell her flesh in order to make money. She was told to bleach her hair and sit in a dark basement bar in one of the old quarters in Dubai wearing a short skirt.

The fate of the Ethiopian women is shared by many others who are trafficked from such far flung areas as Philippines, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and many other countries. The girls are being forced into prostitution by gangs who take them from poor families promising them that the girls would work in respectable positions and send back large sums of money.

Details about the Dubai Sex Trade

According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), sex traffickers bring girls mostly from Asia, followed by Africa, Central and Southeastern Europe, and Western Europe. Moreover, the National Institute of Health says that of the women that are forced into prostitution, around 80 percent are women age over 18 while 50 percent are minors.

The crime groups involved in sex trafficking often use violence in carrying out the activities. While prostitution is illegal in Dubai, the government has turned a blind eye to these activities taking place in famous places. Wealthy Arabs are said to pay as much as $600 for an hour in bed with the prostitutes. Some of the girls are also abused by these men and there have been reports of killings over financial disputes.

Moreover, an activist who works for the plight of migrant workers in the Gulf country stated that there have been reports of domestic workers being sold into sex slavery on a monthly basis after they arrived in the city.

The government and the recruitment agencies do not intervene in ending sex trafficking in the country because they benefit from the activity. Reports say that more than 30,000 prostitutes are living in the country. The paid-for-sex workers are accepted as a norm in the country with the police turning a blind eye on the abhorring trade.

Final Words

Sex trade is being actively encouraged in bars and hotels in Dubai at an extent that is shocking even for the expats. But the sad aspect is that most of the girls are being forced into the trade by gangs that seem to have the implicit protection of the government authorities.


Posted On November 7, 2017