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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 14:02 GMT
Dubai authorities smash vice ring
Jumeira beach, Dubai
Dubai is thought the most liberal emirate with a booming sex industry
Police in Dubai say they have smashed a major vice ring, arresting 247 people in raids on 22 alleged brothels.

A total of 170 prostitutes and 12 pimps, mostly from China, were arrested along with 65 clients of various nationalities, local press said.

The police chief said such raids were a frequent occurrence but were not usually announced to the media.

In March, UAE police announced they had deported about 4,300 prostitutes from Dubai during 2006.

"It is important in the light of the activities being carried out by these networks to show there are crackdowns and there are efforts by police," said Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim in quotes reported by Emirates Today.

He added that the move came after the United Arab Emirates passed a law to combat human trafficking.

"We cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour that is against human moral ethics and our religious beliefs," he said.

Dubai is considered to be the most liberal of the seven-emirate group, with a booming sex industry.

Anti-trafficking campaigners say Dubai authorities often turn a blind eye to prostitution for economic reasons.

Foreign workers and expatriates make up over 80% of the 4 million inhabitants of the UAE, and men outnumber women by about three-to-one.

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