Dubai police have been investigating claims that a Pakistani woman forced her 16-year-old daughter into prostitution to finance her family’s travel expenses for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
The victim, who is now residing in a trafficking shelter, told police she was asked by her parents to travel to the UAE and upon arrival realized the job she was promised in “a beauty parlor” was in fact prostitution.
She said she eventually acceded to her mother’s request, done at the behest of her father, “out of fear and in order to finance her grandparents’ pilgrimage and medical expenses.”
The suspect, the victim’s mother, admitted to the charges. She said she arrived in the UAE six months prior to work as a housekeeper, and that she borrowed money from a local man she was unable to pay back. To pay off the debt, he suggested that he have sex with the debtor’s daughter, which he did along with a friend. The suspect said she later suggested a similar deal to other men.
The woman and her husband were charged with trafficking by the Dubai Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, Sweden and Turkey were on a collision course after the Swedish Foreign Minister said on Twitter that Ankara ignores sexual exploitation of minors by allowing children under 15 to have sex.
“Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse,” the minister wrote.
The Turkish foreign ministry summoned the first secretary of the Swedish embassy in Ankara, expressing their profound disappointment at the “falsehoods” his minister divulged.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, issued a statement criticizing his Swedish counterpart.
“A foreign minister should not tell lies and should not adopt an approach accusing Turkey,” Cavusoglu said. “Yes to criticism but this is slander, a lie.”
Turkey’s top constitutional court in July annulled a provision punishing as “sexual abuse” all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15, responding to a petition brought by a lower court.
The court has given a six-month period for parliament to pass such a law. The lower court that brought the petition was worried there was no distinction between cases of sexual acts involving a young teenager or a toddler.
Cavusoglu said the Turkish government was determined to fight child abuse and added the justice ministry was currently working on new rules.
In a war of words with Stockholm on Twitter, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told Wallström: “You are clearly misinformed. There is no such stupid thing in Turkey. Please get your facts right.”