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Four face vice trade charges

FOUR people, including a policeman, have gone on trial for allegedly holding a woman hostage in a Manama hotel and forcing her into prostitution.

The officer, a hotel nightspot manager, an investor and a security guard have been charged with human trafficking at the High Criminal Court, where they pleaded not guilty.

Their victim, an Egyptian woman, claims she was held against her will in the hotel for nearly five months.

She was hired as a belly dancer, but was forced to have sex with customers after she got off stage, according to prosecutors.

The woman, in her 20s, managed to call police, informed them of her plight and was rescued during a raid of the hotel.

Prosecution and defence witnesses took to the stand yesterday, along with the investigative officer who described how he raided the hotel and found the victim locked up in a room with another dancer.

However, it is understood the other woman was not a victim in the case.

"The victim managed to inform police that she was being held against her will in a hotel in Manama," said the investigating officer.

Ordeal

"I went to the hotel after the victim informed us about her ordeal.

"I found out that she was locked up on the 11th floor with another woman dancer.

"As I knocked on the door and identified myself, the victim was too scared to even open the door.

"She then asked me to present my identification card from under the door, which I did, but she still wouldn't open the door.

"I then pushed open the door and found the victim had placed a bed to block the door, as she was too scared to trust anyone.

"I then arrested the four defendants. One of them initially pretended not to be an employee of the hotel, but later confessed."

When the victim refused to have sex with customers, the manager took away her two iPhones and salary which she hid in her bra, added the officer.

However, the leading judge questioned how the woman could have hid two mobile phones inside her undergarments.

Meanwhile, two Saudi men, who were regulars at the nightspot, told the judges the dancers never approached customers for illegal acts.

"The dancers never talked to any customers, they danced on stage and then left without mingling with anyone," said one of the men, 50.

"I also never saw the manager telling them to mingle with the customers." The trial was adjourned until February 7 for the submission of defence papers. noorz@gdn.com.bh



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