Prostitution in the United Arab Emirates

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Prostitution in the United Arab Emirates is illegal[1][2] both under federal law[3] and Sharia.[4] Punishments can be severe including imprisonment and flogging,[2] and the Sharia courts may impose more severe punishments during Ramadan.[4] Foreign prostitutes are deported after serving their sentences.[5] In 2006 the UAE deported 4,300 foreign prostitutes.[6]

Despite its illegality, prostitution is widespread, especially in Dubai[7][8] and Abu Dhabi.[8][9] The authorities generally turn a blind eye provided it is kept out of the public eye.[7] There are however, occasional clampdowns.

UAE nationals are permitted a number of residence visas. These are mainly used for domestic staff, but any surplus are often sold through middlemen to prostitutes to enter and remain in the country for two years. Residence visas may change hands at upwards of £5,000.[7] Despite a law forbidding entry to unaccompanied females under 31 years of age,[3] "agents arrange for prostitutes to enter the country on a 30 day tourist visa.[7]

Although there is some street prostitution, notably Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi,[9] most prostitution takes place in the bars and nightclubs of hotels.[7][8]

Dubai[edit]

There has been a sex trade in Dubai for many years. In 1936, Sheikh Saeed's wali forced the prostitutes to get married or to leave.[10] During the 1950's & 1960's, two madams controlled the Iranian prostitutes. One controlled the red-light district in Bur Dubai, the other around Nasser Square (now Baniyas Square).[10] Sheikh Rashid ordered that all the prostitutes were rounded up and deported. This caused a run on the local British bank when the women tried to draw out all their savings.[10]

Modern Dubai is one of the main centres of prostitution in the UAE and is dubbed "Sodom-sur-Mer".[7] There are estimated to be 30,000 prostitutes in the city.[7][8] Prostitutes frequent the bars and nightclubs in the hotels.[7][8] Many prostitutes from poorer countries, such as Nigeria,[11] come to work in Dubai for a short while and then return home with their earnings.

There are also brothels in Dubai.[10] The Cyclone, near the airport[7] was closed down in 2007 after it was featured in Vanity Fair magazine,[10] but the operation simply set up at another location.[7] Known by visitors as the "United Nations of prostitution", the club have as many as 500 prostitutes on the premises on an average night, many from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Russia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.[12]

The Cycle appeared in the 2008 Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe film Body of Lies.[10]

Human trafficking is a problem in Dubai,[7][8] often Asian or Chinese gangs exploiting women from India or Nepal.[7]

Sex tourism[edit]

The UAE attracts many foreign businessmen as it is slowly gaining a reputation as one of the Middle East's sex tourism destinations.[3][5][8][11][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Many of them arrive regularly from the post-Soviet states, South America, Eastern Europe, Far East, Africa, South Asia, and other states of the Middle East.[20]

Sex trafficking[edit]

In 2007, the United States State Department placed the United Arab Emirates as a "Tier 2" in its annual Trafficking in Persons reports, meaning that it does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.[7][21] The UAE is a destination and transit country for women subjected to sex trafficking.[22] Some women, predominantly from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco, are subjected to forced prostitution in the UAE.[22] In 2016, 22 cases related to sex trafficking were brought before the courts.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "100 Countries and Their Prostitution Policies". Procon. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Ditmore, Melissa Hope, ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0313329685.
  4. ^ a b "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015" (PDF). United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b Agarib, Amira. "UAE has strict rules against prostitution - Khaleej Times". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ Presse, France (16 March 2007). "UAE Deports 4,300 Prostitutes". Arab News. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Butler, William (2010-05-16). "Why Dubai's Islamic austerity is a sham – sex is for sale in every bar". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Lageman, Thessa (20 January 2016). "Dubai in United Arab Emirates a centre of human trafficking and prostitution". Retrieved 21 March 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. ^ a b Dajani, Haneen Dajani; Al Subaihi (22 August 2016). "Abu Dhabi residents complain of continued harassment from 'street escorts'". The National. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Krane, Jim (1 December 2009). Dubai: The Story of the World's Fastest City. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1782397601.
  11. ^ a b Banjo, Temi. "Revealed: Nigerian Ladies And Prostitution In United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai". Nigerian Monitor. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  12. ^ Chirico, Annalisa. "Prostitution as a matter of freedom" (PDF). Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Sex tourism: A billion dollar industry (Part 1) - Weekly BLiTZ". 8 October 2016. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Sex tourism: A billion dollar industry (Part 2) - Weekly BLiTZ". 16 October 2016. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  15. ^ Choudhury, Salah Uddin Shoaib (2011-08-19). "Removing curtains of Arab harems". Weekly Blitz. Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  16. ^ "FRONTLINE/WORLD . Rough Cut . Dubai: Night Secrets - PBS". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  17. ^ "U.A.E.: Muslim Federation Of States Is Hub of International Prostitution". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Dubai's dirty secret revealed as 30,000 hookers openly work". 27 January 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Local laws and customs - United Arab Emirates travel advice - GOV.UK". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  20. ^ United Arab Emirates, US Department of State: Diplomacy in Action
  21. ^ Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report 2007, U.S. State Department, June 2007
  22. ^ a b c "United Arab Emirates 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report". United States Department of State • Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking Persons. 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.