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Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 15:32 UK

Abu Dhabi court jails Syrian prostitute ring leader

Map of United Arab Emirates

The ringleader of a Syrian prostitute-smuggling ring in the United Arab Emirates has been jailed for life.

An Abu Dhabi court found the man, identified by his initials SS, guilty of luring women to the UAE from Morocco and forcing them to work in brothels.

In January 13 Syrians were also jailed for being part of the same ring.

The ringleader was reported to have fled the country while his accomplices were arrested, but he was picked by the police when he returned to the country.

The man's wife was one of the main witnesses for the prosecution.

She told the court he had forced her into prostitution three months after they married.

Beaten

The Moroccan women - some as young as 19 - had been lured with the promise of well-paid work.

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.

The ringleader was initially convicted in absentia after he fled, but was given a retrial after his capture.



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