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21 May, 2005

The powerless queens of the night

Hetq Online, Investigative Journalists of Armenia, is publishing an ongoing investigation into Armenian prostitution in Dubai and the Gulf, with nearly ten articles so far:

"Dubai's Armenian pimps are notorious for their criminal past. Most of them have been arrested at least once in Armenia for pimping and have spent at least one year in jail.

"No one can say how many Armenian prostitutes there are in Arab countries. According to our own one-month investigation, at least 2,000 Armenian women are involved in the sex trade in the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman."


Many tragic tales are told about trafficked women from various nationalities. Most have been tricked and coerced into the trade, like T, an unnamed Tanzanian widow, separated from her family and children:

"I pray so much, I say God help me, I get more money, I see my baby. God help me, I don't want this job, I hate… I pray to get money. I should someday, must be happy-good feeling, eating and… get school fees. But now, I don't know, now my children may be not eating, I don't know, may be not sleeping."

It is an issue the newspapers here have recently been campaigning about, with the authorities taking some action to tackle the problem. In the past months, several young Indian women have been rescued and repatriated, including a 15-year-old girl written about in Gulf News:

"I was beaten up by my captors. They wanted me to do things that I did not approve of. There were a few other girls in the same place and they took pity on me and helped me escape,” the girl said.

Who hasn't caught a glimpse of the jaded, deadened eyes of young women standing on street corners and in nightclubs: desperate, fearful, weary of a world where they are nothing but a commodity for greedy and abusive men?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Muppetry said...

Some thorough investigative journalism there, and it's a shame that it was needed in the first place... ...here's hoping that the revolving door of 'money' in this part of the world will be put to good use by putting an end to the sex-trade industry in the Gulf - somehow.

(A part of me has serious doubts on that though..)

22 May, 2005 01:16  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Yes - all that said it is a thousand times worse in many parts of South East Asia, for example, where young children are trafficked.

22 May, 2005 01:55  
Blogger AHSAN GHORI said...

I strongly agree your views for those who are caught in the trap but please note that many do it willingly to earn a fast buck & to enjoy the money by using their bodies.Many womens eyes who are standing around night clubs arent deadened as u say but sparkling & u can see the (money) glitter in their eyes.So all is not black & white as you say some are willing partners in this trade.Thats the real problem.If they arent willing then it will be more easy to curtail this trade.

22 May, 2005 10:44  
Anonymous Oscar said...

I was talking to a local guy before I left Dubai and he was telling me about Chinese pro's in Naif working for 5Dhs a trick. There's more money pedalling around Za'abeel selling copies of Gulf News.

22 May, 2005 18:22  
Blogger Ara said...

Regardless of if they came on their own free will or where tricked, according to the laws in the UAE, selling ones body for money is illegal. The fact that the government is involved make it that much more illegal. I was one of the invetigators and saw with my own eyes the girls who were tricked and forced into doing sexual acts for money. All that I could think about during our investigation was when I would have my chance to get my hands on the traffickers and those government officials and then see what is left of them once we expose them. An interseting note and another indication of the government of the UAE being involved would be that www.hetq.am is blocked from being viewed in the UAE. Why would they do this?

27 November, 2005 15:22  

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