Dubai: A jobless man has been accused of posing as a recruitment agency’s representative to seven newly-arrived domestic helpers, confining them in flats and stealing their phones and passports.
The seven Indonesian women were said to have arrived in two batches at the Dubai International Airport where they were greeted by the 29-year-old Egyptian man in August.
The Egyptian posed as the representative of the Ajman-based recruitment agency that had flown the seven women into the UAE to work as domestic helpers.
The man took their passports and pretended to be checking their identities and matching with a number of labour contracts that he had with him, according to records.
Then he drove the women and left them in different flats where they were kept confined for three consecutive days and instructed not to leave the flats, said records.
An Ethiopian woman was said to have visited the women to supply them with food and water until she forgot to lock the door of one of the flats.
Three women walked out of the flat, stopped a taxi and called the Ajman-based recruitment agency to inform them what had happened.
One of the agency’s managers guided the taxi driver to the address and when they informed them about what had happened, they reported the matter to the police.
Primary interrogations led to the arrest of the 29-year-old Egyptian.
Prosecutors charged the suspect with kidnapping seven women with deception and locking them up in different flats. He was also accused of falsely posing as the agency’s representative and usurping the women’s phones and passports.
The suspect was additionally charged with forging labour contracts and using them to dupe residents, who had contacted the agency to hire domestic helpers.
The suspect pleaded not guilty when he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday.
He asked presiding judge Mohammad Jamal to adjourn the hearing until he present his defence.
One of the woman, 35, testified to prosecutors that the suspect greeted them at the airport where he alleged that he worked for the recruitment agency.
“We believed him because he acted like he worked for the agency. He took our passports and identified our names on labour contracts that he had with him. Then he took us to several flats and kept us locked there until we managed to escape when an Ethiopian woman, who used to bring us food, forgot to lock the door when she left. We contacted the agency before we were informed that the man is a crook and had swindled us,” she told prosecutors.
An Emirati man told prosecutors that the suspect called his wife to bring her one of the women to work for them.
“He took Dh14,000 from my wife and the labour contract was written on a letter head of an Abu Dhabi-based agency. Sometime later, we were contacted by another person who asked us to send the domestic helper to him because she was supposed to have been hired for him and not for us. When we told the woman that we had to send her back, she felt scared and did not want because she had been allegedly confined,” the Emirati testified to prosecutors.