Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Abu Dhabi court jails 13 for trafficking Moroccan women

Map of United Arab Emirates

A court in Abu Dhabi has jailed 13 Syrians for trafficking Moroccan women to the United Arab Emirates to work as prostitutes.

Seven men were given life sentences. Five other men and one woman were jailed for 10 years each.

According to court documents, the women - some as young as 19 - had been lured with the promise of well-paid work.

One man - described as the ringleader - escaped to Syria and was sentenced to life in prison in absentia.

An Ethiopian maid was sentenced to two months in jail.

The women were told they had to work as prostitutes to pay back the money it had allegedly cost to bring them from Morocco.

They said they had been locked up, beaten, starved and then chauffeured under guard to clients in hotels and homes.

Abu Dhabi police raided three flats after one of the women escaped from a villa in Al Bateen, where she was being held, in October last year.

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