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Pattaya Daily News

07 May 2008 :: 18:05:34 pm 11409

Uzbekistani Prostitutes Arrested In Pattaya Likely Part Of A Mafiya Sex-Trafficking Networ

Once again sex workers from the CIS, specifically Uzbekistan, were apprehended in the early hours of May 6, 2008, plying their trade in Walking Street. They had apparently been working for the past two months without any complaints having been made against them. On this occasion, 12 ladies were observed approaching tourists and other denizens of Walking Street, centre of the infamous red-light district of Pattaya, where they apparently offered their services.
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They were duly arrested by police and taken to Pattaya Police Station, where they confessed to practising prostitution. Their charges for their services were variously estimated as between Bt2,500 and 3,000. They were charged and will subsequently appear in court, to be deported if found guilty. However, if denied re-entry to Thailand, a prominent Russian tour guide, who does not wish to be named, told Pattaya Daily News, they are likely to journey to Dubai, the most lucrative of the work-spots, to continue plying the oldest profession, either as free-lancers or part of a Mafiya-organized sex-trafficking network.

Thousands of citizens of the CIS, the eleven former Soviet Republics, have taken advantage of the relatively high returns for sexual favours available in such places as Dubai, Bahrain, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. So poor are the wages in these former Soviet Republics, that even professional such as doctors, business women and scientists have been known to enter the sex trade, especially in the aforementioned countries.

Dubai affords amongst the richest pickings in the world for prostitution, where the sex-workers , called ‘night butterflies’ in Russian, can earn 10 times what an equivalent sex worker could earn in Thailand. Current estimates are that there are several thousand prostitutes in Dubai. Apart from a few African women, they mainly come from Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Kyrgyzstan and other republics of the CIS. Some are apparently currently enjoying a high life style, whose authorities are turning a blind eye to the often blatant sex-trade.

What causes the most affront, on the other hand, is that many of these female sex-workers are Muslim. These find special favour from citizens of other Gulf Arab countries, especially Saudis and Kuwaitis, who flock down to the UAE every Friday, the Muslim holy day to indulge; this especially in Bahrain, which is a mere drive across the sea-spanning bridge linking the island with the Saudi Arabian mainland.

Many of the young Muslim women – some former students – who came looking for work have ended up in a trap of sin, poverty, exploitation, hopelessness and fear. Often, those who try to escape their ordeal get killed by pimps and others, especially members of the Russian Mafiya, who are the main traffickers, and who have an inherent interest in seeing the women trapped long-term.

Every week, women arrive on flights from the CIS on pre-arranged visas by agents who then confiscate their passports, and set them to ‘work’, holding them to ransom by forcing them to repay their air fares, arranged visas and their sub-standard accommodation. Some, however, manage to escape and earn high rewards, plying their trade in the night-club, hotel bars and discos of Dubai as free-lancers, choosing as their customers mainly Western ex-pats, who either work in the UAE or neighbouring Gulf Arab states, or as, mentioned previously, the citizens of the oil-rich Arab states.

A recent Sunday Times report maintains Dubai, like Bahrain, “has prospered as a centre for fun-starved Saudis”. Yet, the authorities turn a blind eye to this practice, largely because the business community, both Arab and expatriate, prefers things this way. Dubai is the most lenient of the Gulf Arab states, but unlike its oil-rich neighbours, owes most of its prosperity to being the region’s tax-free, mercantile centre. Dubai defers to the business community which, like secular Gulf Arabs, wants to preserve a Shari’ah-free zone in the region. The six other members of the UAE, and their Western protectors, share Dubai’s antipathy to an Islamic way of life, supporting its toleration of prostitution.

The authorities minimize the prostitution racket, even going so far as to deny its existence and the local media is apparently forbidden from mentioning it. The authorities are apparently more concerned with Mafiya money-laundering and drug-smuggling, while the sex-workers enjoy not only the rich fruits of their trade, but almost complete indemnity from deportation.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Crime News

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