Dubai: Night Secrets
The oldest profession in the newest playground
BY Mimi Chakarova
September 13, 2007
More on Dubai's rapid growth, and links to reports and profiles of the Persian Gulf hotspot.
Mimi Chakarova has been teaching photography at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism for 10 years. Chakarova is the recipient of the 2003 Dorothea Lange Fellowship for documentary photography and the 2005 Magnum Photos Inge Morath Award for her photo work on trafficking in Eastern Europe, which she has reported on for the last four years. Chakarova is currently the photo series curator of FlashPoint, FRONTLINE/World's slideshow series.
Four years ago, I began a photo project on the sex trafficking of young women in Eastern Europe. I interviewed and photographed girls who had escaped. Some had been trafficked to Turkey and Russia. Others were taken as far as the United Arab Emirates, lured by the promise of legitimate jobs and a brighter future. Once they arrived in the new country, they were priced and sold, and their documents taken away. The young women told me they were forced to service mechanics, soldiers, priests, butchers, tourists, and even U.N. personnel who were supposed to protect them.
I grew up in Eastern Europe and met Vika on my second reporting trip to Moldova. (You can hear Vika's story in the FlashPoint slideshow, Moldova: The Price of Sex.) She told me she had been trafficked to Dubai, at times serving 30 clients a day. She quickly learned the only English words necessary to keep her owner from hitting her: "How much?" and "With or without plastic?" Once, without plastic, her luck ran out and she got pregnant. It didn't matter. Her pimp kept her working for the duration of her pregnancy.
After hearing Vika's stories, Dubai became a place I felt I had to see to understand.
Emerging as a world business hub in the last decade, the city strives to keep breaking new records: the world's tallest building, the world's first seven star hotel, the world's biggest shopping mall, the world's largest manmade port.
Dubai has been described as the Las Vegas of the Middle East. Emerging as a world business hub in the last decade, the city strives to keep breaking new records: the world's tallest building, the world's first seven star hotel, the world's biggest shopping mall, the world's largest manmade port. Dubai's free trade zone is a major enticement for foreign investors, and the boomtown atmosphere has attracted more than 180 nationalities to come live and work here. In this playground of the Middle East, I found indoor ski slopes, camel races and dizzying skyscrapers.
When I arrived to report this story with my video camerawoman Sachi Cunningham, I was prepared to confront the human degradation of Vika's experience, but I was surprised to find something else. I met women working as prostitutes who told me that they were doing so because they had chosen to. Sasha, for example, was trafficked from Siberia and serviced clients against her will. But then she managed to run away from her madam and decided to continue to work as a prostitute on her own. Her English was good, so I asked her why she didn't find a job as a salesperson in one of the many shopping malls in Dubai. She said she could earn more in one night as a prostitute than working a whole month in sales. And she wouldn't have to stand on her feet all day. Like many other girls I spoke with, Sasha charges $500 dirhams per hour (about US$140). She told me that the money she sends home to Siberia has allowed her family to build a house.
I met another woman from Azerbaijan who was living with a "boyfriend," the term she used to describe one of her regular clients. She told me how he would often lock her in the apartment to keep her services exclusively for himself. When I first met her, she talked about her son back home and how she had sent money to buy him his first computer. The second time we met, she was drunk and missing a front tooth. When I asked her what had happened, she shrugged it off: "We got into a fight, he punched me," she said, lighting up another cigarette.
Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in Dubai, and the variety of places to purchase sex is abundant -- from the brothels where Vika described being sold and resold and the back alleys where migrant workers pay for a few minutes of pleasure, to the mainstream Westernized nightclubs, often inside upscale hotels, where women from all over the world congregate according to their nationalities awaiting the next client.
In a Muslim country, where prostitution is illegal, we decided the only way to get a closer look at Dubai's barely disguised sex trade was to visit some of these clubs and capture for ourselves the city's night secrets.
-- Mimi Chakarova
Misbah Shaikh - Fonthill, Ontario
It is very disheartening that behind all the glitz and glamour of Dubai lies a very dark and disturbing place. If the Government is sanctioning these clubs then one can only wonder where the money is really going. This piece was definitely very moving and touching. It is unfortunate that a place like Dubai is harbouring such crimes.
Dpunk Badd - Dubai, Dubai
I know of two close friends who were in Dubai and harldy made any money, and after two years of working there they both were diagnosed as having HIV. They have moved from our neighbourhood, but they told me that they just made one mistake, just once, and that was it. I believe them but unfortunately all I can do is pray for them and other retards out there who don't care about the people around them. These men were asked to leave their jobs. They were sent back to their homecountry, and they were social outcasts even there. People, please keep yourselves safe, if not for yourself just for the sake of people who love you.
Gavin Nicholl - Dubai, Marina
Great Article! Dubai and it's "Darkside" are infamous certainly to its expat residents. (3:1 male to female ratio, but 50% of those men could never afford to waste half their salary for a 30 min fumble!) Yes prostitition is everywhere, this is the same in any large city, Muslim or otherwise, but in most cities prostitutes are in the main indigenous and not imported slaves. The other point that I don't understand is that in Dubai even among wealthy professionals (male, of course) it is acceptable to talk openly about them going "Darkside" last night.In the Summer it is even worse, when the expats wives escape the summer heat and guys are left on their own!However I would question if Dubai is a Muslim city. Is it, how do you define that?
At least 50% of the population (residents) are Indian , therefore Hindu, Catholic and some of course Muslim. 10% are from Philippines and probably Catholic. 10% are Westerners ( Christian or apathetic). 10% Pakistan - Muslim. 15% UAE or GCC nationals - Muslim So therefore, only at most 25% Muslim, so no where near a Muslim city!In terms of Policing, Dubai Police need to close down the clubs: The York, Marine Bar, etc and read the classifieds, " men only massage" and do something positive. Jail the importers of sex slaves. Or how about have Police officers in Uniform patrol bars occasionally? Decent expats would be reassured to see uniformed officers outside of their patrol cars!
anonymous - toronto, canada
I frequently travel to Dubai for business and was shocked to see the openness with which prostitutes offer their services on downtown streets, out of five-star hotels and clubs. I am saddened by the fact that women are being forced into this nasty business but even more so shocked that there are women that are into it as a professional business (knowing they won't be stopped) and are not being helped in therapy or government programs. In my opinion if Dubai is to progress as a modern society, the government will have to take more actions and work harder on their over-all policies.
I'm glad that someone from the media had the guts to report on this story in Dubai because most people are just too scared to say anything bad about the city. I've been living in UAE for the past 15 years and trust me, not many know this. The only person who is making money and the only city benefitting from this business is the city of Dubai and the ruler himself because the truth be told to everyone is that these girls have to pay for their visas up to 1500 US dollars for 3 months ,and another 500 for the renewal. The goverment knows why these women come to UAE and allows them to enter. The amount of money the goverment makes from this business is very large, so they cant stop it. It's sad knowing that UAE is a Muslim country and Dubai spoils its image by being just Muslim by name. The ruler of Dubai is the organiser of this crime.
I grow up in UAE and I lived there for 20 years. I'm furious about the prostitution situation in Dubai. Reporter didn't show who traffics those poor women to UAE. Unfortunately, those who traffic those poor women are from the same nationality of those women- European, Asians and Africans. It is organized crime. Even most developed nations failed to stop them. This problem can't be solved unless there is real cooperation between the countries which those women come from and countries which they are trafficked to. To achieve that, a common ground about what's ethical sex should be drawn. Because prostitutes aren't always forced in many cases; women sometimes choose that. Don't let your sympathy for some poor enslaved women misguide you. Some prostitutes are guilty even more than their pimps. Sex industry- prostitution, pornography, escort, etc. is unethical, and making it legal won't help. On the contrary, it will make it worse.
Strikingly poignant and eye opening.
San Francisco, California
Such compelling content! I was captivated from start to finish! The crew that produced this deserves a medal for their courage.
Chao Su - San Diego, CA
A great film, and equally great comments from viewers. I agree that prostitution and social parity are undeniable human phenomena, however, I wonder if the government can circumvent the historic stigma and provide some minimal protection to the women. I have heard stories about government services, primarily free health clinics, in places such as Frankfurt and Amsterdam. I wonder if those cities could serve as examples for the future.
My husband set up a company in Dubai and has visited a few times a year for the past 3 years. I am sickened to discover that he had called a prostitute for sex in his hotel room in between business meetings. This has broken our marriage. Dubai--the world's new best city. I'm disgusted.
- San Francisco, CA
Great segment. I thought it particularly poignant that although some of these women are there by "choice", it left them empty, tired and devoid of their former dreams and passions. One poster said that Mimi's resources could be better spent on focusing on cases of sexual slavery (arguably a more clear problem), the beauty of this segment lies in focusing precisely in the ambiguities of women who apparently made a choice. From a larger philosophical perspective, all of us have had to abandon dreams, make compromises (some moral) in order to pursue practical considerations. In this way, we share the larger existential problem of survival in a capitalist system with these women.
The other part of the story is that most of these prostitutes are on visit visas issued by cops. Also what about AIDS? Funnily a person with a resident visa has to take an AIDS test but visit visa people don't have to.The growing trade in sex there is not out in the clubs or streets but in the private home delivery systems that cater to illegal clubs
I just spent a year in Bahrain. There is a bridge from this island that connects to Saudi Arabia known as the Saudi Causeway. I met many Saudi Arabs on the weekends who came across the causway to drink, smoke, and hire prostitutes for the weekend.The prostitutes at many of the late night hotel bars were from former Soviet Union, China, Thailand, Phillipines, Moroco, and Ethiopia. Many of these men left their familes to have a boys night out. They would pray at the Grand Mosque during the day and party all night. I often asked those I met if this wasn't against the piety expected from Islam. To a man, the response was "Allah does not see across the bridge."
Though a journalist,I visited Dubai with my husband last April.I am sorry to say,besides the huge high rises and fast food places, we saw too many YOUNG prostitutes. It really made me sick.They hear about money and they are lured into the damn business of selling their bodies for life.They had come from all over the world. I talked with several of them including, one from Turkey,one from Iran,one from Russia(who could hardly speak English), a French girl,an African girl and a German girl.But the majority were from Russia,Turkey and former Eastern European countries.Sheik Muhammad -Al Makum has three wives,he has housed them next to each other in lavish villas,so that is considered NORMAL in Arab world,but you don't find that in other Islamic countries like Egypt,Iran,Turkey, etc. Let's face it I travel a lot and see prostitution all over the world,it is a huge problem and an old one that should be solved.I do believe strongly that POVERTY is the oldest and biggest reason for prostitution all over our planet,but the more we show,write and talk about it, the more young women become aware of this terrible situation. But it's every where, not just in Dubai, yet Dubai has made a name for itself as the Las Vegas of PERSIAN GULF, the Muslim version of it and I "congratulate" Sheik Mohammed Al-Makum!
I have never been to Dubai, but Dubai gets a lot of attention in the media these days. I've read up on the many booming financial sectors there, and I was not surprised to read of a quasi-underground prostitution trade present in the country. In the documentary, I found it interesting to note that a high level official in the UAE was honest enough to pose that the issue of prostitution is the inevitable import of capitalist policies. He was right to say that it will take some time for laws to catch up with the pace of UAE's coporate liberalism. The country has also received attention over many cases of unfounded deportation of foreign workers and biased hiring practices too. At the pace the UAE has changed in the last decade or so, it is critical that laws are in place to properly check and legitimize the manner in which revenue and wealth is brought into the country --meaning that this will also concurrently protect the rights of people working there too. I see the issue of prostitution in the UAE to be just a small metaphor for the new found materialism that is present there. This materialism is part of an appartus that is captilalist-profit driven with little regard for morality. This is the new engine that has now become part of UAEs govermental initiative.
Indian Mound, Tn
Thank you for you're story. Wish I had seen it two years ago. My husband was a contractor in Iraq and came thru there every trip home. I found out the hard way about the prostitution. It is where all contract laborers for this one company go before being tranported to Iraq.My husband actually had regulars he contacted each time he passed thru.I'm glad the secret is out.Wives need to know.
I've lived in Dubai 22 years now. Getting prostitutes in Dubai is easier than ordering a pizza! But it relieves the sexual frustration seen in most other Middle Eastern countries! :)
Grew up in Dubai - Chicago, IL
Ten years from now, Dubai will be like Hong Kong and Singapore. HK is a sad reality, walk down Kowloon and it reeks prostitutes at night. Singapore is a proper comparison. All clean, pristine and sadly everything dirty is hidden from view. Dubai is going to be something in the middle of that. People will come there to make money still and life will go on, only this time, unlike HK or Singapore, nobody will want to live there forever.
Crime, prostitution, slavery ( all the workers in some way), rascism etc. sounds to me like Captialism is bringing Dubai back to the middle ages , not forward. All that glitters is not gold. All that glitters is not the Real Dubai !
Mohammed Kazim - Worcester, MA
I think it is very important to separate social issues such as these from religion and politics. By no means does the political system of Dubai encourage such behavior. Task forces and undercover efforts have been put into place to stop these illegal practices. Why do we not hear more of that? For some reason all publicity of this subject links it to Islam or the current government when in reality none had a role in attracting them there. The true reason for their presence is the increased wealth and the evident nature of the work or people who work there. The majority who work there use Dubai as a transit point in their careers or have temporary presence in the country. That could explain why this kind of business thrives in the region. I agree more efforts have to be put into tackling this issue. But like every other place it needs time. UAE is only 35 years old, it took other places more than 400 years to get rid of even bigger issues. By no means should fingers be pointed to the conservative rulers or to religion. This is a social problem and requires a united social effort to combat.
I have lived in Dubai for over three years now and, like the rest of us living here, I am well aware that prostitution is rife. The impression people give when discussing this issue is that the industry is somehow less seedy and violent here than it is in other places in the world. The fact that this view does not match up to reality is something that Mimi - who has been following this trade in other countries as well - can rightly take credit for exposing. This trade is to be condemned here as anywhere else. On a related note, judging by some of the responses, the US is free of prostitution and violence against women. Can this be true? Others are confusing Dubai with the Islamic holy lands and assuming that women here have to be veiled and cannot drive. For them I suggest they watch the original 60 mins documentary - it may teach them something that challenges their perceptions.
Ahmed Elewa - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Guess the underlying reasons for prostitution lie in the source countries not the destination. Many men all over the world are glad to have sex in exchange for money, yet if you have women insisting on the profession, it explains the limited choices they have back home.Dubai's opportunities are not only for prostitutes, as some Westners here term the place the brave new world of this age. Many made fortunes in Dubai, even prostitutes, and they did so without a need to pay a comission.What's sad, is the organized crime that drives prostitution in many places around the world. At least it does not exist in Dubai.
Prostituition has been lucrative in Dubai and other parts of the AGCC countries like Bahrain due to the influx of the new Oil revenues and also a black parallel economy that exists in the these nations. I am a person from one of these states and I have experienced prostituition in Dubai from head to the toe. With some of my friends and acquaintances who have actually indulged in these activities out of choice. The reason being, the government of this country in order to develop business societies has actually lured and some what permitted the existance of the sex trade. The watchdogs from United Nations or any other Non- profit organization have to step up to the governments of UAE or other Middle Eastern countries in order to pull the emergency brakes on the trade.
karim abdul - seattle, washington
What amazes me most is that the so-called sheiks of Dubai who present themselves as conservitive by wearing traditional clothes would prefer having their city grow economically rather than protecting innocent women from being exploited in such horrific ways. This world has become so unpredictable.To the journalist, not only has she done a great job but also she has opened our eyes to this evil world.
MOTY AWARDS - UK, England
Having traveled extensively for many years across the world and living over eight years in the USA from the Caribbean to Africa and into Europe, the truth as many of the above have stated prostitution generates cash for government and police officials and their GDP. I literally refused to holiday anymore in Jamaica because of having to witness European and Canadian white men buying up young black girls for pittance. Even in Sierra Leone it is the same menacing practice that breeds HIV from westerners. Think about it, how can the "poor" or "under-privileged" desire mere filthy prostitution as a job IF there is no westerner, middle-class or tourist demanding or willing to pay for it? Prostitution is nothing but exploitation of humans both ways male and female. No one wins! Even Children suffer (just watching their Mother hide and go to work) and are affected mentally, emotionally and physically as a consequence of travelling sexual perverts who deliberately target the poor undeveloped countries so they can get their disease or sex act on. Women in the Western world have now become their own Johns and taken escorting and prostitution to a higher level now. They control! A Man has to now fork out hundreds just for 30 minutes of pleasure. So what does this all mean for the world as people? Unless governments create meaningful job opportunities and stop fooling people in politics, polls and votes the adult and young women and girls as you can see openly on Facebook, MySpace and BlackPlanet will parade themselves electronically for a fee or free date. This means women and girls do not need to walk streets, travel, solicit anymore or be exploited by the so-called Pimp, John or Joe. They can do it all by themselves with a web-cam, lap-top or cell-phone and that should scare the hell out of us all. So what will you do to stop this sex e-trade train wreck coming to your family or home? I say write, blog, fight and stand against it! Now!
There is no mention of the diseases that are being spread by this prostitution. This is really awful just as the prostitution in Las Vegas is awful. Las Vegas and Dubai are just modern names of Sodom and Gomorrah, only Allah or God does not have to destroy them. They are all destroying themselves by wrecking their health with this horrible prostitution.
Anonymous - Abu Dhabi, UAE
It's amazing, I tried to watch the 10 min video at the top of the page and it is blocked by Etisalat the national telecommunications company run by the government. You can try to hide the facts but the truth will always find a way ... thank God for the internet.
Lived in Dubai for more than 15 years and served as a senior manager in the Airport, what Laith Raouf posted is the truth from a person who really knows the situation.
Mimi, why don't you stop imposing your morality regarding human sexuality. Obviously, in Dubai, the women who engage in prostitution are doing so voluntarily. If prostitution was legal and regulated, societies would be more harmonious. Economically, these are good transactions, and the utility of both people are increased.It is obvious you are a feminist, a misandrist and a misguided moralist. It is journalists like yourself that are the problem, not an enjoyable society like Dubai.
I am here since 3 years and unfortunately my office and my flat is situated in the heart of dubai called Naif bazar, wanted to share a little with you, you hear a raid has been done on a bar or club or prostitution center and it has been closed for ever... but you always hear a raid has been done they have been fined and left free after a week, is this all about fines, its an open book these clubs bars are the mean of collection how can they close it and if dubai glitters doesnt means its gold, we should not just close our eyes and forget our reality, our parnts sent us here to get some respect and save money not to disrespect ourselves by going to places like you. l find every where in Dubai I feel ashamed I am living in a muslim country which is allowing all this so sorry.
Dubai is Islamic country, but the culture here is un Islamic. I am living in Dubai for the last three years and experienced the presence of prostitution at each nook and corner of Dubai. Before coming to Dubai I was not aware of existence of prostitution in Dubai to this extent. I was very much proud of myself when I planned to settle in Dubai, now I feel ashamed to live in Dubai and planning to leave this place ASAP. I feel Dubai will get the punishment from Almighty Allah very soon.
lucy read - abuja, nigeria
I had to say that these ladies that came all the way from their country to Dubai, some are coming to work but on the process of getting a job. They will be told amount but they'll be paid no accommodations, no transportation, no company will take them, maybe due to their nationality.The next thing they had to do is to go into prostitution, while some when they are working they will be abused by their MD or co-worker also some are been brought to Dubai by someone before they start coming they will be inform that they are coming for prostitution, while some they are not told the truth of what they are coming to do. These ladies ended up that way and after being physically abused by their employer's wives and sexually abused by the young men who take all their I.D.s upon arrival, and have no choice but to flee. For example I have been in Dubai for the past two months hoping to get a job, but when I go to any company for an interview, after that they will not call, while some companies ask me to pay 400aed so that they can get me a
job, besides visa change, house rent will be there waiting for me even extension. The next thing I had to do is to go back to my country instead of wasting my time in search of job. Some ladies in Dubai are there for over two years without a visa because they are unable to get a job, and have no money to get a visa, so they had to go into prostitution, while some sell alcohol in their homes to survive.Lastly, to stop all these things, the police must keep an eye to that and let the employer try to employ the applicant, no matter the country where she come from, because this is an Arab country where corruption is been bound.The police should keep an eye on all hotels, and those ones standing by the road side.
From Lucy Read.
The traffic of girls is always blamed on people who lure them and some stupid journalist who believe their stories. If not all, most
of them wanted this work because they were greedy and wanted to make money
fast. They don't want to work and prefer to open their legs. The police in
Dubai is clean and I challenge anyone to proof otherwise. If any lady goes to the police, they will arrest the people who brought her in and deport her
back to her country. The problem is that most of the girls want to stay and want to make money and hide from the police. One can take a religious view of things and condemn it, and can also say that they're free to do whatever they want with their bodies as long as no one is forcing them. No lady will tell you I am a prostitute because I love to make money. They will all say that some pimp promised them a clean job. Wake up.
El Zorba - San Diego, CA
It is a sin upon humanity business that I don't codone at= all. I live next to Tijuana, Mexico and have traveled to T.J. and see how many prostitutes are pimped out for a few dollars. I see their faces and can't fathom their plight but can't save them all. My heart goes out to them. For I see their faces and see my home country destroyed $1 at a time for a few minutes of pleasure.
I think the real disgusting issue is not sex for money, but the fact that people are so motivated by money they will do anything for it. For example, if someone is willing to eat dog feces for 1000 dollars isn't that just as bad? Isn't the real issue degrading oneself for money?
I've lived in Dubai for over 12 years working as business journalist and I can tell you that Dubai is in fact marketed as an international brothel. Communism=prison. capitalism=bordello. Take your pick.
Horelyn Go - dubai, u.a.e
I worked as a taxi driver in Dubai and from my heart I tell you that it is one of the worst cities in the world. there are only two works there one is construction and the other is prostitution. Government with the help of police giving support to these girls. These girls makes money or they lost everything there. Girls from all parts of the world are there for prostitution openly in the roads selling there bodies. At night
90% of the girls in the streets are prostitutes. Shame on you Dubai. Shame on you.
Nasib Shah Shinwari - Kabul, Kabul
I think the Arab area being a Holy area and the birth land of our holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) should be cleaned from these prostitutes. This is also earning bad name for Arab Countries and all Muslim in the world, Saudi Government and UAE Officials should take strict action against these prostitutes to avoid the area from spreading vulgarity.
Prostitution in Dubai is not a novel phenomenon. It has been there since Sheikh Rashid was in charge. At a certain point in time, Sheikh Rashid wanted to shut down prostitution, however, one of his close friends asked him not to because if that happens, the single men in dubai will end up harassing UAE women, as he said. So that didnt materialize. However, this has flourished when Dubai started to boom. It actually became a corner stone in Dubais "tourist attraction!" The story is long and it will take
me pages to write about it especially that I used to have access to many inside information and details about the "Night life"of dubai and the big heads who are after the whole thing.
Prostitution is not called "the world's oldest profession" for no reason. That is no excuse for anyone to support it or to condem the people who feel the need to practice it or to pay for the services. When we choose to treat everyone with love and respect we will search hard for ways to reduce the need for such degrading work. Seeing every person as a beloved child of a Great Creator, worthy of our care and empathy may be a small step to a better world for all of us. No person can be mistreated.
I can't wait to go to Dubai and experience it's night life!
Can anyone share a link of this video on Youtube? or a real player version somewhere ... this link is blocked here.
Great report. Interestingly this topic is very low on the media radar. After living for a year in India, I stayed in Dubai on a three day layover. I could not believe the number of prostitutes openly "working" the best hotels in the city. The hotel bars at Le Meridian and the Four Seasons were literally packed with prostitutes. I am shocked to hear that your equipment was returned. The stories that I have heard about what goes on behind the scenes turns my stomach.
Too bad the journalist does not distinguish between prostitution and slavery, condemning both as wrong. Selling one's body and mind for money is what 95% of the world population does everyday and it is not necessarily bad. Forcing people to do things against their will is another story.
I have been working & living in Dubai for the last three years and have been thoroughly engaged in the nightlife of Dubai. I totally agree with your findings and have got a lot to add as a revealing information. Over time, I had been deeply & regularly associated with Kazakh, Moldovian, Checheyan, Uzbek and Romanian women. Let me know how I can share those experiences.
Aaron S - Austin, Texas
I apparently am the only one who doesn't have a problem with this. It seems a lot of commentators want to blame this on capitalism. Which sadly is very ignorant unless by it they mean only the freedom of choice that capitalism makes possible. You heard the one girl say she choose to do this instead of working in retail because she said, "she can make more in one night than in whole month behind a counter, and doesn't have to stand on her feet all day." She didn't say that she couldn't make enough to live on in the retail job, so this isn't about poverty. It's about choice. I realize that there is an element of coercion here and that should be addressed, but that's not what most of these other comments focus upon. When people are offered the freedom of choice they might make choices they come to regret, but that is still a far better circumstance than any other alternative.
Jackson Laibowitz - Dubai, UAE
I have only been in Dubai for a few months and when I first saw this piece I was surprised. But I have since been approached by women on the street asking me if I would like a "massage." I usually decline these advances. However, I did partake with one young lady (late 20s) after talking with her over the course of a couple of weeks before finally agreeing to accompany her. She shared an apartment with 3 other women and was free to come and go as she pleased. Personally, I have no problems with prostitution or women who choose to engage in it. But I am fervently against slavery of any kind, abuse of women or children (men too, but much less common) and believe there should be strict penalties for violating any individual. Sex is everywhere, in every country, in every city. And it is for sale everywhere. Yes this is a Muslim city in a Muslim country. But the government is not to blame for the existence of prostitution. What they can be blamed for is not regulating prostitution, not ensuring the safety of the workers and their clientele and not punishing more severely those who use it as a means of exploiting and harming others for financial gain. Dubai is like a child who is just learning what is acceptable and what isn't. It is experiencing growing pains and that means it needs guidance and tolerance from all of us. I've yet to have one of the ladies on the street (and I've talked with more than one) tell me she is being held here against her will. I saw that more back in the U.S. in California and Ohio where a woman would work a club, strip joint or massage parlor for 1-3 months before being sent to some other city or state to keep new and fresh faces at each location. Those "employers" are the ones we need to stop. I felt the documentary was interesting, but agree it doesn't address the actual issue of forced slavery. At least not here in Dubai. I would like to see a more in-depth film on that subject and at least begin to strike a blow against the real criminals - the slave traders. Perhaps by stopping the slave trade, prostitution will become a page out of history. I doubt it, but we won't know until we strike out against those who perpetrate and corrupt people against their wills.
It seems to me that that the economic boom of Dubai is not only providing opportunities for educated westerners but also for uneducated women in the third world. For some women, the option to make extraordinary money whilst being in control of their circumstances is a blessing. It allows them to escape the drudgery and poverty of there home life and fund relatives back home. I want to be clear, the problem with this situation is not the prostitution itself but the organized crime that exploits the demand for prostitution at the expense of unwilling women. The organized groups that kidnap these girls need to be stamped out, not the prostitution.
How is it possible that such a business exists in Dubai? As young man, 21 years old, I arrived in Dubai two months ago for some work. My bus friends and I decided to party. It was Tuesday, first in a hotel, at front desk, an Indian asks me which kind of escort I would like. Then in the cab, it was the same thing. Mr. Cab Driver brought us to a "nice club for Europeans only," where was again BOOM. We paid 125 dirhams for entrance. Once inside, plenty of "putanas." I have never seen in my life before girls asking me to have sex. One girl started with her price, 2 000 dirhams. I have never seen such smart "putanas" in my life. They are living for sex, money and expenses, very simple, actually. They are having sex for money like I make calculations as an engineer. Hoping in a general improvement of Dubai night life in the following years.
Going on a stag to Dubai, I hope the numbers quoted are only half of what is really out there. The country is about all money. The oil is running out and other forms of revenue must be generated. Cant wait, bring on the prostitutes!!!!
new York, new York
After seeing this report, I looked around and thought how many of us have used their service? I work in an office of twenty men. I asked them if they had paid for sex. They all said yes. I guess we are creating the demand. I think we should start with ourselves by not paying for it and be loyal to our wives. I was in Dubaiand and saw a lot of prostitution all over the city. My frinds enjoyed it as well. It was fun and joyful but deep in our hearts really sad. But one word to all women. If your guy ever sleep with any prostitut it doesn't mean they love you any less. It is men's mentality that women in general would never understand. I am super ashmed of myself as a guy.
Beth Bright - Cleveland, Tn
Its a shame that Dubai government allows this kind of abuse to women.
This is made by people them selves, not by Dubai or Gov of UAE, if they did any action aganist all reporter will take about freedom, this is not fair....
the people are blamed not in UAE but also in otherplaces in worl such as Russia? isn't it
Hind - - Dubai, UAE
well, as alot of the countries Dubai is also dealing with prostitution. But there is a difference here.. prostitues in other countries are forced to do what they do but in Dubai most of them do it willingly ! That means they are ok with selling their body, dignity and self respect ! If they think that Dubai is to expensive and a hard place to live in then why are they here in the 1st place.. there are alot of people who leave if they know they cant afford living in Dubai. And as mentioned before yes Dubai is a fast growing country but honestly that dosnt mean it has to be a perfect country.. every country has problems with prostitution and like every country Dubai is also doing something about it. I dnt know if you know this but Dubai has Deported around 4,5oo prostitutes in 2006.
I am born and brought up in Dubai and honestly i love it ! it is safer then most of the countries, a developed muslim country, and you can basically find anything you want here. And thats why it is one of the number one tourism country, Yes it is an Islamic country and Islam disapproves alot of other things including prostitution but that dosnt mean every muslim is a perfect muslim, and i belive this is the case in every religion not all the christains perfectly follow the Bible and same with Jews and other religions. Just to correct some of you US muslim women wear the scarf and cover our body willingly, and its not like we live our lives cookin, serving our husbands or what ever you people think. We all chose to be like that. We belive our bodies should be shown only to our close families and husband, not every man we see. this is something we belive in and act on. Every one has their own belifs no one sud point a finger at anyone. We are all proud muslims and just for the people who misunderstood Islam Dont Judge a book by its cover.. know wht the real story is then say or belive wht you want. Back to the subject honestly i really feel for the people who are abused, thretned and forced to become prostitutes and hope the government will do something about it because this is certainly unacceptable ! All of this has nothing to do with religion, race, wealth, the country or anything else. Its all about the person itself, We all are human beings and we all deserve respect. Its a different case if they enjoy doing this and prefer this kinda job then any other job ! Id rather be a begger then sell my dignity and body to anyone regardless of how poor im am or the situation of my family or anything else.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I have lived in Dubai for 5 years out of the last nine and I have often visited the bars where there are many prostitutes.
I made good friends with several groups of African women - from Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria. They are just normal human beings doing a really tough job for the sake of their families back home. They are not evil, they are not immoral. The huge majority of them have a plan and a mission to send money home and set up their families with a home and a business, then, with luck, they can return after more than 10 years doing that awful job, without their families knowing what they were really doing. If you are serious about helping them, do what I am doing and put your money where your mouth is. I have now sent 4 girls back to their country - one in Ethiopia, two in Uganda and one in Nigeria. I have built the house / funded the business and educated the children. I have changed their lives and set them free. The families are so happy and see that they have a future which is of their own making. I visit them all several times a year to see that the money is being well spent and to offer advice if it is requested, but mostly to be part of a family who has been given a small chance and made the most of it. The best thing you can do for these girls is to get them away from Dubai, back home, and assist them to be independent and most important of all to support the education of the children. All the kids I see in these families want to be at school, but often their parents cannot afford the simplest things like shoes, uniforms, books and pens. It is a ridiculously small amount of money needed to ensure a child is educated. Similarly it costs very little to fund a simple business of THEIR choosing. Do it now, believe me I know how joyous it is to change the lives of these brave people.
anonymous - Dubai, UAE
I (me, female 21) met many girls in the clubs since I am here in dubai who are gong for this because they chose so. They are really talking about it like about collecting secial informations. But these girls have more contact with a few men ( 1 to 3 ) who are married or wealthy. They meet, get their "shopping money" and thats it. Its really sad but for some people dubai is so amazing that they get lost in this glitter and glamour world. By the way...most girls I know are actually working as cabin crew who have this side "business".
Harmandeep singh Birgi - mohali, punjab
sex should be permitted in all over the world as can help the ecomomy of the country , government must apply Taxes on prostitution
Patrick R - Fairfax, VA
Dubai needs to decide if it is a country bound by Islamic scripture or a country willing to allow what many consider immoral behavior. The current status of prostitution is legally punished but socially acceptable. For a city that is capitalism on steroids, I'm surprised they don't just legalize and regulate the sex industry. Not only would it bring the practice into the open, it would increase Dubai's stature and the Las Vegas of the Middle East.
Legalization brings with it regulation. Each prostitute would be registered and frequently tested for disease. Sex workers would also be able to bring complaints to the courts, minimizing unfair pay at brothels and abusive customers. In general, life would be safer for those who would be in the sex industry no matter what. Maybe not ethical, but definitely practical.Source:
Legalized Prostitution: Regulating the oldest profession
Foreigners and visitors make up the majority of the population in UAE and most of them are engaged in prostitution and human trafficking. So stop linking Islam and the Middle Eastern culture to this issue. Good Muslims and moral people don't engage in such activities. Such remarks are racially motivated. Prostitution and human trafficking is a world wide problem. Why prostitution in Dubai is viewed differently than the rest of the world. One more thing most girls and pimps come to Dubai from moral corrupt countries . Stop the Muslim/Arab Hate.
Mel - Montreal, QC
Please stop referring to these women in the sex trade industry as powerless victims, and naive. The sex trade industry is the oldest profession and we are at a time in which many women consciously choose to enter it for reasons that are not up to the rest of us to judge. Rather than view sex workers as degrading to women in general, perhaps we should view them as equals- and maybe then, they will receive rights, proper protection, and respect. No matter what laws are in place, this profession is not going away; it will always exist and the only thing that the public can do is to make sure it has the proper protection to ensure that the women are not abused or trafficked and that they perform their job in a safe and healthy way.
I have lived here for over 20 years and I believe that Dubai is a great city under a great leadership. Through there are many contradictions of policies but it justifies the means. They have to do that and make everyone happy, which isn't an easy thing to do. Prostitution exists in every country in the world without exception. Dubai is regulating it in a Muslim Country - think about that for a minute! and tell me how else would you do it without compromising security - which I think we should agree Dubai is doing quite well there. Dubai is Opening its doors for people who suffer in their own countries India, Eastern Europe, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait ...etc why don't you contradict those countries for allowing them to have a better life in Dubai and not sustaining them at home and making use of these resources! These people are building one of the greatest cities on earth to be remembered for many years... They must be loving it here!
I have been to Dubai in my work, many times. I have seen and met a number of the ladies of the evening. I have befriended some after they got out of the "business" and into more conventional work. Dubai is not an abnormal cesspool. It is just a normal thriving city and prostitution comes with that as well as severe abuses.I have traveled to many cities all over the world and have found it much the same. The worst I ever saw was in Spain. I was there a few days. Once a taxi driver misunderstood me or perhaps he got a fee for bringing people there. He took me to a large hacienda on a hill by itself. Music was playing. When I went in I found the most depressing place I have ever been to. I looked around. I saw bored and sad young women of many nationalities sitting around, some talking with men. I was so miserable that they would be treated so. I knew that the women were prisoners. They lived on the site and had no freedom at all. I turned around and left, never to return to that horrible place again.In many other countries it is more like Dubai with foreign nationals working out of bars and having freedom to choose their clients and freedom to go about the city in the day time.
Hugh Collins - Littlefield, Texas
We, the people that care, should find a way to help. If there is anyone out there who knows what we can do to help please let us know.
This is not shocking to me. All these low lives, disgusting human royal families and heads of state in all these Middle East ,I hope that Allah will destroy them and dry the entire land from that dirt of oil that causes all the wars and problems in the world and may Allah bankrupt them one by one in UAE SAUDIA KUWAIT..... AND ALL their filthy families.
My dear this is world of free market and capitalism. Americans and Europeans are the supporters of this shit.Ask this from so-called champions of human rights if that what is happening. If Saudi Arabia bans these activities they are blamed as conservatives, if Dubai allows this then they are also doing worse. Just read this; it tells you the real face of the West. Bordels Mobiles de Campagne or Bordel Militaire de Campagne (both abbreviated to BMC) is a French term for a mobile brothel used to supply prostitution services to French soldiers facing combat in areas where brothels were unusual, such as at the frontline or in isolated garrisons during the First World War, Second World War and First Indochina War. Don't blame any government or city, it's the system that supporst these things.
The pimps should be shot to death who bring the girls to this hell.
In an area with such a booming economy and male dominated population, it does not seem likely that the sex business can be curbed without very unlikely major international pressure. Having said that, there is no excuse for allowing the trade to continue in such an unsafe manner. It is up to every individual to demand strict regulation and compliance. Prostitution is known as the oldest trade, but sex has hardly ever been free for anyone. I think it would be wise for people to stop thinking of vice crimes as a battle to be won or lost, but rather a natural phenomenon to be tamed and mitigated.
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
I think what is happening in Dubai is to keep up with the demands of modernization. It's a lure to attract people from around the world, as Dubai needs people to come here and spend, either on water or sex. The authorities do not mind at the end of the day. SPEND IN DUBAI.
THOUGH SHALL NOT JUDGE ANYBODY, BECAUSE EVERY HUMAN BODY IS UNIQUE. NO ONE CAN FIX THE PRICE OF A HUMAN BEING. WE PREACH AND PUBLISH WHAT GOOD WE DO, BUT WHY DO WE HIDE AND KEEP SECRETS OF OUR BAD AND OUR MISTAKES? WE ONLY LIKE APPRECIATION AND NOT CRITICISM. WE ARE ALL DESIGNED BY GOD FOR A PURPOSE AND WE ONLY LEARN, LEARN, LEARN, LEARN AND DO IT. THAT S ALL THAT LIFE IS UNTIL DEATH. DYING FOR SOMETHING IS BETTER THEN JUST LIVING FOR NOTHING. THAT IS WHY THE WORLD EARTH STANDS WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF ANY SUPPORTING PILLAR. WE CANNOT IMAGINE THE THINGS WHICH WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
Deburg Katz - Dubai, UAE
Personally, I think it's the women's choice what they want to do with their bodies. If men weren't there to drive prostitution, prostitution wouldn't happen. Where I come to have a problem with this is when I (being half asian) get stared at by men when I enter any bar/restaurant with my husband, or when I am waiting for my husband to finish work at HIS bar, and I am propositioned. Gentlemen, do what you need to do, but don't forget to repect yourself, and especially, other women who can relate to my experiences. Next time you try to buy an hour of her time, just think, how much would you pay for your sister?
glyn jones - Tenerife, Spain
Dubai is all about 2 things, greed and hypocrisy. The government profit by charging exorbitant fees for 1 month visas for the working girls, hotels charge them for entry into the bars that exist solely as pick up joints, everyone knows what they are there for. These self righteous so called emirati muslims are nothing but a bunch of grasping pimps.
SHEIKH MOHAMED, YOU ARE A MUSLIM, AND PRAYING 5 TIMES A DAY. WHAT THE USE? ITS REALLY SHAME TO SAY THAT ITS A MUSLIM COUNTRY, PLEASE SAVE YOURSELF FROM THESE, AND STOP IT , IT'S HARAM.. OTHER WISE YOU WILL BE CRIMINAL FROM ALLAH"S EYES AND SAVE YOURSELF FROM THE HELL, SAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR PEOPLE , STOP PROSTITUTION BANNED IT , SAVE U.A.E
Prostitution is everywhere in the world,and don't forget that most western people travel looking for sex. So blame yourself before others, but at least they let people work in their country not like the USA or other western countries.
pat xxx - manchester, uk
nice to read ur information as i just experienced how the feeling is , when u cannot change the girls financial situation in the home countries and their education and needs.i just fell in love with a girl from asia who is now workin as a prostitute freelance in dubai becos she needs to feed her family/thats the way it is.thanks
many western expats are having mostly chinese ladies as "girl friend " living with them.They paid them well because western expats salaries are very good and don't forget if the men work in the city his company pays also rental.So these guys are having great fun in the emirates.The chinese ladies paying a hefty sum for their visa but if you have a rich expat as boyfriend he will pay.AbuDhabi and Dubai are now flooded by these ladies.I am amazed really how these things can happen in a muslim world
Audina carryn - Canberra, capital teritory
well,wat can i say ?????a nice place,with thousands stories....peoplz come and go find and left wat else peoplz in DXB ask for ???? leisure available everywhere,if only the goverment cud stop then they have to stop it soon otherwise the future of your country will be destroyed in one blink,all u need is an action not only talk and talk...act from now then !!!!!
steve paul - yellowknife, canada
Nigeria should learn their lesson of developement and curruption-free actitude from Dubai of yesterday,very developed,oil-rich like Nigeria,shame to you Nigeria big for nothing-country,Long live Sheik
is this an arab state? No, sir. are these muslims? no no.. then who are the rulers of this emirate ????? apostates........
Sad, but true. I havn't been to the emirates yet, but at the same time i'm not surprised of what happens in the background. I think its a catch 22 really. The emirates (dubai) can legalize prostitution...but at a cost. The cost is not only financial, dubai is a GCC country and that means its technically a 'Muslim Run System' sociaty which ultimately means if prostitution is to be legalized let alone be aknowledged by the system then the shieks are viewd as pimps (which they are in reallity) but the public image of Dubai, then changes. Its not like lebanon for example in which sociaty is westernized throughout years of occupation of foriegn powers...dubai still walks in sandles and headscarf down the road of the 21st century.
my question is i need to know what is the status of nightclubs , bars and availablities of prostitutes in the month of ramzan ,is every thing shutdown or is it the same in the month of ramazan
Chaudhary Mian Muhammad kashif ali sultan - lahore, Pakistan
Duabi is the great city. I love this city and want to live in this city all my life.
Sadly the latest trend is that mothers from eastern europe bring young virgin girls for wealthy sheiks. Accomodated in the high rise apartments.
Bobby Brown - Dubai, Dubai
Look, there's a reason its the world oldest profession. Its because men have a biological need to have sex. So get of your moral high horse and stop spouting artificial religious based anti-men rubbish. You service your car - you service your "monster". It doesn't mean he loves you any less, ladies.
Nonebefore Noneafter - SLC, UT
Dubai reminds me of another city that tried to make a name for herself Tower BABEL. I do think the designs of the Towers and Buildings there are awesome. Dubai could be the City here in the Bible.
Revelation chapter 18. 1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. 9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Why are you guys making it seem as though Dubai is the only place in the world where there is prostitution?? Prostitution is everywhere! What makes Dubai so different? Don't blame the culture or the UAE nationals. We are the minority in our own country. Why? Because we have become an international city. No other city in the world can compare to Dubai's fast-paced development. You cannot talk about our customs or traditions, because you do not know them. Just because we are a Muslim country does not mean we are a police state that has religious militia running all over the place. That is not what our religion preaches. Like all other religions, it cannot be forced upon the people. Our religion allows for the men to marry more than one woman. That is meant to lessen the chances of adultry that is widespread in other countries.
This whole Dubai is fake....even the people are fake. So you're not supposed to walk around in mini skirts because you should respect their religion, but you are allowed to be a prostitute ? Sorry but this Dubai doesn't make any sense. Its just a big theatre.
just want to make money
radha barwali - Bombay, Maharashtra
Girls & women can earn good money by working in Gulf.I worked in Doha, Qatar for 10 months & earned 8 laks.
If you see any Gulf bound plane it is full of women of my caste.
I applaud Mimi Chakarova for her work. I also marvel at the hypocricy of the Arab world. But what do you expect from a culture that condones sex with children and one who condones beating their wives for trite excuses. The whole Dubai concept is a destructive farce with money being the root of the problem. Very sad and pathetic.
Karl Berger - Mnchen, Deutschland
Hundreds of thousands of lonely expatriates and wealthy tourists from the West and the Third World come annually to Dubai. The sex industry is naturally thriving in such atmosphere. Islamic authorities tolerate it because it's very important and there is no other way to satisfy expatriates/tourists. They are not going to open licensed brothels, and few women besides high end call girls would want to work in a deserted area like the UAE. Dubai is one sex marketplace among others, from New York to London, Paris, Milan, Las Vegas or Miami. Trafficking is extremely sad but Asian construction workers live a similar life of exploitation. This investigation was very superficial. It was more like a deliberate attempt to associate paid sex and Islamic culture to exploitation, slave trade. It's open season for the smearing of foreign cultures deemed inferior by American journalists. Arab, Russian, African, Chinese and so on.
I have seen personally and was shocked with the fact that almost every building where we are carrying our families to live are also taken up by pimps to keep the prostitutes. And these women as if their soul has been taken out, they are just like live flesh with no heart and emotions and are mentally being tortured to accept the fact that they are meant for consumption and are not humans.
Adrienne Vitaskova - Las Vegas, Nevada
Legalize prostitution; have strict health codes for the sex trade workers and de-mystify the industry. There is a need/want factor to this and it's clear. Make it legal and you will remove much of bad side of the industry. Trafficking, however is politics and until politicians give a damn, their citizens can be preyed upon.
Yep, esentially, Dubai is a whore house. By the way, one more thing to know. HIV is a deportable disease in the UAE. If you get HIV, you get deported.
It doesn't surprise me that there would be prostitution in Dubai. Economically oppressed countries are the recruiting grounds for the sex trade trafficants. While in Kuala Lumpur on vacation, I witnessed sex workers waiting for their clients outside a hotel that is situated within 2 blocks from the Petronas towers. Prostitution will be around so long as people have to struggle just to survive. There will be winners. But for the most part, there will be losers, many losers.
I don't think the problem is prostitution -- it is hypocrisy. In nations like Germany and Holland, where it is legal, women do not have to suffer so much.
From meeting Arab princes in the states, I'm pretty convinced that this show of "conservatism" in the Middle East is probably more for the masses. Some people must really like piety -- but from the dawn of mankind, it has been a natural drive for people to want to engage in sex.The wives who are upset that their husbands passed through Dubai because such things are available -- why did your husbands seek out such things? Did the city of Dubai create the desire?If there is so little temptation in the Muslim countries -- where does the desire come from to cross the bridge into Dubai?It was always there and will always be there. Some people call it a sin, and shove it into the background and that only really punishes the poor people who do this for money. Some of the drastic and violent laws to punish people (mostly women) who engage in this only serve to move it more underground. Your powerful people and powerful people in the U.S. never go without these services. Not in any country -- they just hide it more successfully or not. And the corruption of your leaders starts from the compromises they make, and the amount of lying they have to do to the public.>> I'd say that Al Qaeda has not targeted this city because THEIR leaders are not really about any religious cause -- but they are a sham to preserve the power of their kings. Do they fight off the corruption in their own country? Or do they seek to merely redirect it in profitable ways?Their actions (alleged) against the U.S. were clearly very profitable for our military, and those politicians who sought to profit from it -- has it done anything to make the world a better place for Muslims?>> Personally, I don't seek out ladies of the night. I'm happy with my wife. But I understand the frightened men who go to church on Sunday (I don't) and pretend one thing, and live a life of lies, and then enjoy such services. To deny that people need this attention, only makes lives worse. If they had affection and honesty in their lives -- and someone who loved them more -- well, maybe some people are just born more promiscuous. But I think there are a lot more damaged people out there and a lot of people afraid.I'm sure a lot of people in Muslim countries are afraid NOT to say thanks to Allah. They probably convince themselves all the time that they are happy. Such people are driven to lie to themselves. Sin to me, is that people are driven to live lies.
It's worth mentioning that such a city with this open sex trade has a hard-strict filter on Internet porn! I think the goal of government is mainly to filter political/human rights websites and they just filter porn as a side-kick and as a justification for main censorship.
kennyann pajarillaga - dubai, UAE
I am just wondering why these ladies are going for prositution? There are a lot of jobs here in Dubai. If you will get easy money, for sure easily it will be lost to you. Better to earn your money in a clean way.
Happy to know there is a a site like this, thank you for bringing this opportunity to media. We should not blame the prostitute, Though prostitution is everywhere it should not be in Dubai, a so called Muslim country. The blame goes to the government because the cost of living in Dubai is very high and and the government does not care about your livin. All they want from you is your money. If you can't spend money, you are not welcome.I've been living in Dubai for many years now. There are lots of secrets a lot of people don't know about the country which we need to put in media. I really thank you for your courage in bringing this to the media.
Hazem Ali - Jeddah, KSA
Nice report, its a real shame for all Muslims, People of Dubai and Govt. and I have a fear that a Natural Disaster is very close to Dubai, and the land of UAE will be Upside Down. InshaAllah. May Allah show them the right Path.
Man you people are pathetic, just looking for an excuse to take stabs at the UAE rulers/religion. If the Sheiks force strict rules to block out prostitution, then you people will start the ''Islam is taking away women's rights'' bull. It's becoming a major city, major cities have prostitution, DEAL WITH IT.
Ok, we're going off topic here it seems. No one would say "prostitution isgood" Its all bad. And I'm sure everyone on this discussion would agree. But what does that have to do with Dubai? I mean, then let's start on Bangkok, Las Vegas, Bombay, various Eastern European cities, etc. Every place has common prostitution going on and it is usually ignored. Dubai just came under the radar because it is newly ON the radar. I'ts a great city -- no one there forces you to pay for sex. Enjoy all that Dubai has to offer (which is much more than a night out with an escort).
Since Dubai is a sin city, why didn't Al Aqaida attack Dubai instead of Bali and Jakarta? Do you think Dubai bribed Al Aqaida?
Altaf Ahmad - Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Very, very sad to know this situation exists in a Muslim country.
shaik ibrahim - hyderabad, andhra pradesh
its ammazing to cum dubai and have a job in dubai
carryn audina - bahrain, manama
It was really a relief to hear and see such comment regarding DUBAI.
Andreas Wiegand - Abu Dhabi, UAE
I'm a German expat living in the UAE for 3 years. In Germany prostitution is an officially recognized job, with regular HIV tests, tax and social security sceme. This is the only way to stop illegal, forced prostitution and trafficking. Contrary to this approach I had to come a 'Muslim' country to see so many prostitutes in public.
descent Guy - Chennai, Tamilnadu
I have been working in Dubai for 6 months and I'm sure that your reporter has really shown what's happening there. It's not only in Dubai, it's all over Bahrain and Kuwait also. Not left out Saudi Arabia, here women are trafficed from other Arab nations such as Egypt. They are called into serve the higher government officials or ministers. Not only prostitution is here but also light has to be thrown on drugs also. Saudi Arabia is saved only by the two holy places, even there women (Saudi nationals) have started to sell their flesh. Some one from the media has to open this up so the Saudis will start to think over it.
At last somebody thought of reporting it to the world and making it a news. I feel this deserves to be news and ofcourse deserves a debate. Let's remove the mask of hypocrisy that some of the Middle East countries put on and see what lies beneath. Or at least let us not say that these countries follow shariat...
Seema W. - Sharjah, UAE
I am glad to know that there are few reporters in Dubai who bring out the truth instead of just showing the good side of the city. In this way there would be more awareness in the country other then just hearing the usual news which i am tired of hearing. Good for you, keep it up!
Being an American Muslim here, it absolutely disgusts me to think things like this really go on. But the gentleman in the film who said that it's all about capitalism was right. With money, anything can take place, even the shamefulness of prosititution. Shame on you Dubai.
This is very true that you have documented about Dubai. In Dubai if some one asks what is the most selling item. No doubt the answer is what you portrayed [prostitution]. There are no rules or regulations to control this successfully. Anyone can go and get it as in any Asian country where sex tourism is one of main businesses.
Mohammed Asif - Mumbai, Maharshtra
Beyond doubt great effort! Everybody talking about Dubai's glowing face, someone has courage & heart to show the dark side of the city. Kudos to you Mimi Chakarova.It is really hurting as well as being a matter of disgrace when a rising country nurtures such a women humiliating ethic which is absolutely a threat to morality & society.
I have seen personally women selling themselves on the street of Dubai. People bargain with them like anything. So many times their customers misunderstand normal women as prostitute and that too is a really awful situation.I wish, hope and pray people will be more aware and active about the issue for a peaceful life.
Prostitution is everywhere, even one mile from the White House. There are women who are brought from Russia to United States put in houses where they must work as prostitutes for a year or two before she can get her passport back. Dubai is not supplying itself with these prostitutes, ruthless mobsters bring them there in the first place...Hopefully Dubai will give those woman a chance to become part of the real workforce of Dubai, and give them better housing, a chance to raise a family and to even help the family they left behind. Dubai is pushing itself away from the truth of the inner problems of the lives of people who live there, most of whom are from poor countries...
Excellent job. Glad someone had the guts to survey and write about it. Let's punish the criminals in whatever way we can.
deric American - Doha, Qatar
I have lived in the region for over 5 years. In Afghanistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain. For all of you living in the blind, Muslims [can be] the biggest hypocrites on the planet...There is open prostitution all over the Gulf. When the CID (police) makes arrests, [at times] it is because they want to gang rape a particular woman. I know completely innocent women with legitimate jobs that have been followed by them...This is not the sickest thing either. I have a Filipino friend whose mother works in the major hospital in Doha. She tells that they are [treating] Nepali, Pakistani, etc. male laborers that get gang raped by locals and have no rights or representation. Man on man rape is very common [here] to disgrace someone. You have to remember men and women do not socialize in this society.
femneurosurg - Arnhem, Netherlands
This is the sad true world we live in. People are meat. Women are being consumed. Some believe they are priviliged and see others as less. They are making money and blooming businesses with slavery. Sure make money sure become rich but don't create a world around you where you will not be able to live in, except in your own fortress.
Stop talking nonsense people! Dubai is doing well, if you compare Dubai to any European country Dubai would look far better than all. At least the crime level is very low and families are safe around here. The Government is fighting drugs so your children won't waste their future. All is well, please leave us alone, and keep those destructive opinions to your selves.
Yes indeed Dubai became famous with its large numbers of prostitues , but there are many other good things the leadership of those sheiks has made real in that small land. They can not stop prostitution, it is us who choose what we want in life. Prostitution has no nationality, no religion, no color. Dubai is great city where every one has the freedom to do what he or she wants. God looks to us individually. Dubai is great, I really mean it .
I have lived here in Dubai for two years. I know a lot of these women. Some of their stories are very sad. But I would say 99% know what they are getting into. What's really sad is how they are treated back in their home countries. I know a Chinese girl who is paying for her brother to go to university in USA.
ROBIN AMBANI - ABUDHABI, UAE
SHEIKH MOHAMMED ,YOU PRAY 5 TIMES A DAY ,WHAT IS THE USE? PLS TAKE CARE OF YOUR COUNTRY,OTHER WISE YOU WILL BE A CRIMINAL IN THE EYES OF ALLAH. STOP PROSTITUTION, SAVE U.A.E.
Vincent Porcher - Benalmadena, Malaga (Spain)
Great story but why doesn't the local government stop this? Why isn't there any controls? $$$$$$, perhaps?! There are so many human rights issues in this world, it makes me sick!
What is interesting is that many of the working women are doing it willingly without force. They choose to earn money that way, what can a govt. do?
For those of us who think it is difficult to stop prostitution in Dubai, we are kidding our selves.Dubai like most of the Gulf states is a Police State and they can stop any thing within 24 Hrs. if they want, and people who live there know it well. Nobody can hide from them, I mean no body, unless they want to look the other way.No body can enter or leave their country without their knowledge, they completely control it. Look at Saudi Arabia, inspite of contigous borders by land to other countries, they don't have one woman from out side who could claim to be single, all have to be accompanied by a "Mahram" man, unless working in some legal job or profession, and they are watched by hidden eyes very close, one wrong move, they are deported from the country, with in 24 Hrs.I think if Saudi Arabia, or Gulf Countries Council, ( GCC) puts pressure on Dubai, this buisness can be stopped in no time.
Mohammad iyaz - Islamabad, Pakistan.
What a Shame! With complete control on everything in the UAE, by the security services, can't they stop it ? I agree with one of the bloggers (dubai,dubai) that it is being done for the convience of the ruler. Would it remain a place to keep families there or raise children there, as it is now?
Aliya Sayad - SF, ca
Prostitution increases in UAE ? Outrageous ! That's because Arabs have so much money to spend they go dumb paying prostitutes, which leads to higher crime rates. Good luck Arabs, you insult me as I am Arab too, for building another sin city like Las Vegas.
You can ask the U.S.A. and Britain about this tragedy. Yes, they are to blame.
As long as these small cities bow to U.S.A. and Britain in order to be so-called MODERN, CIVILIZED, HIGH-TECH CITIES, you must see the signs of DEVELOPMENTS, like prostitutes, nightclubs, bars.
syed saboor - Chicago, illinois
I have been to Dubai myself. And I have not seen prostitution in the open, but I have heard from many people about the pervasiveness of the problem in the city. Much of this has unfortunately to do with the growing westernization of Dubai and the UAE, in general. Walking through the malls and streets of Dubai, one quickly looses a sense of being in a Middle Eastern city.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I haven't been to Dubai but it is sad to know that this is happening there. What can we as individuals do?. Frankly speaking, if I wasn't married, I would have gone there and chosen someone to marry. At least, I could feel that I did what I could to protect at least one woman in my life.
Safar Harandi - Half-Moon Bay, CA
What is going on in Dubai is indeed a disgrace to humanity. Why is it that such a horrible thing can only take place in an Arabic country? One must think about this. No where else is prostitution like this in your face or the equal of slavery!
ozone park, New York
I think prostitution spreads AIDS. The money earned is not that easy. But also we have to think about those people who are really in need of money for life, and are forced to sell themselves.
Shame to say, this is a Muslim country.
libor michvocik - berlin, germany
Working for a famous reserach firm, I was assigned a task to do a study of the sex industry of Dubai. This assignment was given to our firm by the Dubai government. While on my research I found very, very shocking facts that I can not share with you as I can be fired from my job. Being a sociologist, I think the main reason [for prostitution in Dubai] is the society's attitude towards the use of money. Dubai is known as a business hub, focusing to be a Middle East centre of power, wealth, and different cultures. What I think is that to lessen this issue, the government should regulate this sex industry.
Mohd Anwar - Karachi, Pakistan
We talk about Dubai and its rapid progress in Developing Countries but to hear about this crime of women trafficking, it's really so bad to take advantage of innocent girls from poor countries.
If prostitutes don't offer their service, how we gonna get pleasure? Girlfriends don't always have sex with guys so they have to buy sex. I think some prostitution should be appreciated.
Trafficking of women is bad and it should be banned or checked by UAE authorities. Prostitution has become a profession and one cannot stop this. But dirty people are there in all parts of World. Thus trafficking of women should be banned.
That's very sad to know that how this big empire is growing and how Dubai is exploiting things in the name of Islam, while everything is going on behind the scenes like other countries where it [prostitution] is legal. Shame on the faces on UAE rulers, they are just giving a bad life to their nationals...
Sharjah is the best Among Whole UAE, Dubai Government Must Ban Visa for Ladies without Husband or Un Married. (Marriege Certificate should be Verified at government Level)
I frequently travel to Dubai. I will add the basic sense to this article that there are not only trafficked girls but also many girls who came here on visit visa and started earning money as prostitutes because in Dubai there is no restriction. It's very common that in flats areas prostitutes also walk to see clients. The Govt. has to notice this issue.
I am living in Pakistan. I think every person is himself responsible for his good and bad actions. Don't blame Dubai. It's the people who disturbed the image of this country. A woman who sells sex to earn a living loses her dignity. I myself know many females who haven't enough money to eat three times a day though they work hard, but they do not select that stupid field of work [prostitution] where a woman loses her dignity. The first principal of life is to lead an honourable life .
Binish Fawad - Karachi, Pakistan
I am very chagrined to read the story of sex trafficking in Dubai. It shows an abhorrent face of the "Holy Land". It's a very informative story. I have heard about it for many years but she has pointed out many things I was not aware of it. Dubai is a well-established and Muslim country where prostitution is illegal, so it must be stopped by the Government drastically. Why can't they control sex trafficking?
Shame rulers of UAE, shame on you.
Mike Hunt - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dubai is well known throughout the Middle East as a byword for prostitution and money laundering. Whilst working in neighbouring countries, if you say you are going to Dubai for the weekend, you get the nudge-nudge, wink-wink treatment.Dubai is a police state. Every bar and hotel has CCTV cameras that the Police have access to. The rot and corruption goes all the way up to the top. Nothing happens in Dubai without the say so of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is the ultimate pimp.
Yes, government does allow sex trading in Dubai and a few other cities in UAE. Imagine what would happen if this huge number of men didn't find a woman to have sex with: Rape, whatever! It can't be helped!
A few years ago I was visiting Dubai for work and an old friend showed me some night clubs. I was surprised to see a large number of prostitutes doing business freely. In a bar area I started talking to a beautiful women from Ukraine. After a few minutes of discussion I asked if she prefers this glamorous life over having her own loving family. She replied, "Men in my country are not good. They like to get drunk and beat us. These men are not intested in having a good family. I am worse off being with drunken men in Ukraine than in Dubai."I like the work of Mimi. Mimi ,you have done a great job by making this documentary. Next time please visit the home county of these women/prostitutes and document how they are being treated. Are they forced out from their home country by the behavior of drunken men or is the government of Dubai at fault?
I have found prostitutes in every city that I have lived in, primarily the south and east coast. Who is kidding who? The tragedy is the forcing and deception. Ultimately we are all prostitutes. The clerk selling cigs to the lung cancer victim, the waitress selling fat laden garbage to the over weight heart attack victim. Stop for a minute and think of the things you do for money that are harming another or the environment and eventually yourself.
eugenia popovici - bucharest, romania
I went to Dubai for New Year holiday with my boyfriend, was the second Muslim country that I visit. Dubai as a city is a faithful copy of New York, nothing great. Prostitution [in Dubai and elsewhere] is not a modern problem, it was the first job invented when the world was created, is history, is present and will be future, for sure.In my opinion the problem is how they treat women, like an object, like nothing. For any Arabic women it is easy to wear clothes like a modern woman, but if you try to change a modern woman to cover her hair and face it is very hard. UEA wants to be creme de la creme of the world but they must accept the world is not perfect and you should take it as it is with good and bad. In Italy if you are married and divorce the husband pays an amount all his life for the wife - Roman Law - this is protection, this is a radical solution for a woman to not became a prostitute. Education, information, help, and faith in God are solutions to reduce this problem.If a young women coming from a poor family doesn't have anything to eat or education to survive, what to do? Suffer one day, one week, one year and in the end a desperate feeling comes. Prostitution is a very easy way to make money and is available for rich women too. That is not drama, drama is when your kids grow up next to the second wife's kids, sharing the same father's love. Imagine a world where a woman is only an accessory. I don't like this world but I feel safe when I know a family is only one mother and one father. Good luck in all you do.
Cracking down [on prostitution] drives it underground, and seedy exploiters crop up, payoffs to cops become the norm, HIV and STD spread. The whole thing becomes corrupt and shady. Sunshine and openness is like a cleanser. A disinfectant. In Hungary and Las Vegas, there are health inspections, taxes are paid, and age laws are meticulously enforced. This is a more realistic approach. In these places, there is less of moralistic hand wringing and more of ingenious systematic approaches (checks and balances). These places have shown that the answer is not to criminalize it, but channel and control it.The push should be to effectively manage it by government and not leave it just to the criminal justice / underworld elements. In this way, exploiters and criminals are squeezed out of the picture.Whether nave moralists like it or not, the issue will not go away. So why not take take a look at what is working in Las Vegas and Hungary, and learn from it?
Your morality is your own. I am against trafficking and its consequences, however, women who are working 'at will' are fine. Men need a release from 'sex-as-a-weapon' world of modern woman, who act like they're doing us a favor or completing a chore. They are just upset that we can pay for it, and not have to deal with their manipulations. Men realize, we pay for it one way or another...and flat out buying it brings the price/cost into acceptable range...
Ms. Chakarova's documentary is excellent. It seems very balanced and truthful. However, it is hard to believe that a serious journalist and researcher of this topic would be surprised to find that a good number of the prostitutes freely choose their profession. That is not, of course, to deny the horrible reailty of forced prostitution. But life is complex, and surely anyone with genuine interest in this subject would have learned early on that many women do in fact freely choose prostitution. Is Ms. Chakarova not aware that in the U.S., for example, there are thousands of young, educated women, many of them university students and middle class, who willingly choose to make money this way, simply because it is so much more lucrative than anything else they can do? Again, a good documentary but the naivete of the filmmaker is hard to fathom and seems almost disingenuous.
I was expecting this story to focus on the horrible life these women live and how much they suffer but was surprised to see that most of them choose to stay in the business. Most stories about prostitution and sex trade explain how miserable the victims are but most of the women in the video seemed content with their lifestyle. I also thought it was very interesting that in an area with such strong Muslim beliefs people would completely turn their backs on this corrupt custom. I can't imagine accepting this as a part of your country's lifestyle and assuming that there is no way to make a change. Even the women involved have been convinced that it is acceptable which just shows further how wide the gap is between our culture and theirs.
Prostitution sure could or is a problem all over the world and is a serious threat to Dubai especially by 2010, but there are even more extreme worries in the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. Dubai has changed drastically in the last few years, gone are the days when one could purchase unique novelty or any consumer items at a very good/inexpensive price or live comfortably without keeping a constant eye on my wallet, today the place has become far too expensive, more expensive than California where I currently reside. I used to live in Dubai and loved the 70's and 80's, it was a different world then. The most common issues sadly remain and will remain forever in the UAE. UAE nationals always get the top priority, they love the white skin, all others are garbage, they get treated like donkeys, the country loves to promote their own nationals and Arabs for the good jobs, there is racism, no freedom of speech, locals are always favored over South Asian expats or other races and the place has always been a heaven for all the rejects especially from the United States and United Kingdom who are low performers in their careers in their respective countries. UAE welcomes such people. Equal Opportunity Employer does not mean anything in the UAE. Look at how congested the roads and traffic are, the city could have used better planning tools, there are no roadmaps, people use landmarks to navigate, there are so many basic developments missing. Good luck to Dubai if people think it will change.
ramon posada - bejing china, prc
I've been to Dubai and I am not surprised. Any place that has money will have people breaking the law, especially the oldest profession. It's a shame really, but who am I to say or judge anyone? There is a market for prostitution in Dubai, especially for businessmen. However, I will leave this message for the ladies: please be safe. And for the customers: put on a condom. Be safe.
She says right in the report that she "can't conceive" why prostitution could be a choice-- this simply shows the typical arrogant American attitude that our way is the only way --- fact is there are over a billion people living in countries where prostitution is accepted -- what about Latin America? Most of Asia? - the reporter is placing her own world view about what is right and wrong on others -- its also a very biased report highlighting Dubai in an unfair way- what is different about Dubai versus Paris, New York, London or anywhere else?
Destiny Osborne - Plano, TX
The most fascinating and disturbing part of this video was the information that the country is putting forth no effort to stop this prostitution. The fact that the country eagerly chooses to have its reputation maintained as a "playground" over the desecration of bodies is honestly extremely sad. The mere idea that the girls involved often blind sight themselves into believing that they are in a good position also needs to be put to an end. What a horrible trade.
shaban palakkal - india, kerala
Fantastic report. But one thing some of these are gals selling their flesh for their livelihood in order to survive. Moreover, police officials are giving full support for these prostitutes.
Anonymous EDward - Allen, Texas
I was disturbed to read this. Not only do women sell their bodies, but they enjoy it. It shocks me that it is so profitable. I suppose it is their bodies, and therefore their choice. It does sound like a reasonable way to provide an outlet for certain urges, especially for such a female depleted population. Until a better alternative is found, I suppose there is little that can be done.
There are sad stories as to how girls end up being a prostitute. What they don't disclose are many chose this "lucrative" profession to make more money. Many know what they are getting into and many choose not to leave the profession. To many, it's choice based on $$$$.
This is worst thing I have ever heard in Dubai. I knew something is happening at night but now I am awake. Thanks for sharing your views with us here in Dubai.
The Frontline video was an eye-opener to the out of control prostitution ring in what many believe to be the most civilized country in the Middle East, Dubai. It is a tricky situation Dubai's government faces, wishing to walk the line of morality while still wanting to maintain Dubai's allure as the "playground" of the Middle East. The most alarming part of the video was the mention of women being brought to the country forcefully to practice prostitution. It is the responsibility of Dubai to keep such criminal atrocities from happening. If they insist on allowing prostitution to take place in their country, regulations that protect the female's choice must be put forward and followed through on. It is understandable that Dubai's social mores may be more liberal than what most American citizens are accustomed to and the legality of prostitution is their prerogative, but it is their countries duty to make sure the freedom of all of their citizens is being protected.
Alyssa - Allen, TX
I know some people that have gone to Dubai and I didn't know that it was anything like this. I thought it was just a beautiful city that I would like to visit someday. I was really touched by the interview with Sasha because I didn't know that the girls would be so vulnerable in their actions with the men...I think that Mimi Chakarova is very brave and I respect her very much for this documentary.
Mimi, I found this segment incredibly interesting, eye opening and terribly sad. While studying abroad in Thailand my fellow students and I encountered many of the same forces at play that contribute to the proliferation of the sex trade, nearly all being economic.
To the commentator "Dubai, UAE", you are AWESOME. If I as a woman choose to make money as a prostitute in Dubai, I should be free to do so. Why deny these women the right to buy their families houses, send their siblings to school, etc.? How many of you have ever had to make that choice? Starvation or prostitution?
aney one dusing - ethiopia, fl
I feel good for what I did before in Dubai because I changed my life and my family. Now I live in Tampa, Florda. I am married and I have one girl I love. I still miss Dubai and my life there. My husband is a contractor and I believe he does not go with other women because he finds me the most beautiful woman and I give him what he wants. Prostitution is very bad because some men will be bad and will not use a condom. I feel sorry for the women who get diseases and HIV. I am clean because I respect myself.Mimi from Florida
Anonymous - sugarland, tx
Traveling through Dubai many of times it is kind of heart breaking to see the young girls selling themselves. Some don't have a choice they are just trying to feed their families. Others choose to do it because they can make more in a day than I do working everyday and I make six figures. The sad thing about it is when you actually talk to some they don't want to do it but its necessary. Some would actually make better mates than some working regular women would if they weren't doing what they do. You can't judge someone until you walk in their shoes.
A nice piece but one which this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more things to say.A number of women in this trade entered as maids to Emirati families, were mistreated and fled without their passports. It is illegal in the UAE to confiscate an employee's passport but the police will tell you that it is "normal" even though it is illegal. Note that most employees in the Gulf (except for professionals, in some countries) have their passports confiscated by their employers, which of course is illegal but is also accepted practice. They have no choice but to prostitute themselves or go back home to reimburse a debt (they BORROWED to get a job as a maid in Dubai) which they cannot pay back in their home countries. But let's not be hypocrites. Once they have tasted the easy money they WANT to stay in Dubai and will do anything to get back into the UAE if expelled. Most of the other women are there by choice. They save and build a house, send their siblings to school, improve their own lives and their families'. They would do anything BACK HOME to go to Dubai and earn this kind of cash rapidly. They do have "honorable" alternatives like working as secretaries or civil servants back home for $20 to $100/month, which leaves them with no money at the end of the month. THAT is the real slavery, but it is one which is acceptable to our moral values. The fast-track to riches these women choose shocks our moral values but isn't it their choice to make?Thanks to the author for not serving us too many of the PC clichs on child prostitution and abduction, which are not relevant to the Dubai bar scene.
Lloyd Monteiro - Bangalore, Karnataka
Interesting story, i had heard a lot about these kind of things from my friends who are working in Dubai.Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world, do you think it can be stopped? It's very difficult as the women in the documentary said. When you can make 1000$ in mere minutes, why would you want to work? The only thing that stuck me most was when the Interviewer asked the Siberian girl what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Anonymous - Austin, Texas
As a female contractor who went through Dubai on many, many occasions, I can tell you that it was like kids in a candy shop for the male contractors and prostitutes alike. I can assure you, walking into a place like the York Club or the Cyclone Bar, the women were extremely aggressive to the men at the bar. Everyone is well aware of what exactly is for sale in those establishments. The women are well dressed and well put together, but unless the customer specifies "protection" it is not considered. It is not the female prostitutes in Dubai that I feel sorry for, it is the general laborers, cooks, maids, & taxi drivers that have the harshest life in the land of luxury. I do think Human Slavery is alive and well but for the women that choose the lifestyle or the men who choose to partake, it is a business transaction. If the concern is over human rights, it's not the prostitutes you have to worry about.
These Arab states now have direct flights to Philippines. I wonder what they are doing other than dropping groups of half a dozen Arab men each flight in Manila and Cebu?
This is a gruesome but a biting truth prevalent in our "society". What saddens me is the fact that women are being misled into this big, quick buck making set-up. Fact remains that this is not only a common occurence in Dubai alone.
Just to add something, we dont have to forget that Dubai is a Bangkok of the Middle East and each city has good and bad sides. But as the girl in the video said, that she started to work in prostitution freely. I believe her, since the men in the Arab world and in the Gulf are always horny and they would really harass you till they get what they want, doesn't matter if you are a man or woman. Homosexuality is also widespread not just in UAE, but also in the Arab world, and prostitution is not something "new" to that part of the world... I was visiting that part of the world many times... and prostitution exists and will exist always and everywhere, so Dubai will also not be an exception.
Maurice Handel - Needham, MA
This story was an informative and compelling look into an all too common reality in a very weird place.
Of course human trafficking is horrific and despicable and should be fought with every available means and protocol. But that is different from the people who choose to do it. It seems Ms. Chakarova wants to challenge the idea that the women are making free choices; but that runs the risk of objectifying them. It is of course true that people of means usually don't choose to be sex workers. But then neither do they choose to work at McDonalds or mine coal in China. Are the independent sex workers at Dubai clubs sexual/gender victims or is their sexuality/gender simply the means by which they are run through the capitalist machine? Is Ms. Chakarova of the opinion that the free-agent sex trade in Dubai be strictly illegal and cracked down upon, as she heavily implies in the video? It may squelch part of the demand but would it not just drive the rest into the black market where human trafficking is rife? Should the women who moved there knowing full well what they were getting into be criminalized? Regulation might be the better way to go, but cultural factors preclude this in the Middle East. What is the best way forward through this labyrinth of patriarchy, capitalism, and modernity in a high-context Arab society? I think it was a good documentary overall, but I wish that these questions had been examined more inquisitively. As it is, I felt the presentation's message and style sacrificed depth for moral 'clarity'.
Mr. Michael Plumer,
Whilst I congratulate Mimi Chakarova on a brilliant documentary of such sad state, I cannot help but be surprised at your comment which displays a lot of misinformation probably from the likes of FOX and others.Mr. Plumer, some men do go to prostitutes for sex in all countries. A muslim country is not nessecarily made of practicing Muslims. It is a combination of a majority of those simply born to Muslim parents and a minority of those who intellectually chose to practice Islam in an educated way.As to the stoning issue, I suggest you review your bible where the punishment of fornication is to stone the woman if she has slept with a married man, while in the Quran if the individual is married, he has to be stoned whether it was a woman or a man. If the individual is not married, he or she is lashed. Further, those seemingly harsh laws have extremely rarely ever been implemented through history and their main purpose is more psychological than anything else and hence all the barriers that the law has put in the path of executing them (ex: four eye witnesses have to see the act which is not normal in the case of usual fornication unless it is an open sex club -and in that case, the later brings harm to the overall society and hence it should stop). Bear in mind that freedom has limits. In the US, it was once against the law for instance to establish a communist party which is technically a limitation on thought freedom, but it was required to protect society at a time communism was posing a great danger.I urge you sir to be open minded and learn more about our region which has proved throughout history the unmatched level of tolerance.Thanks,A
Misty - New York, New York
I was a prostitute for a very, very long time. I got into the stripping business when I was a teenager. My self esteem, my family, my strucure as a young girl growing up in a mentally poor community was destructive. I then went into prostitution. I had a lot of self hate. I had to fill this deep spiritual hole I had inside of me and I filled it with drugs, alcohol and men. It destroyed me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. The lure of the money and men. I was making $1000 a night...but it destroyed me. I got out of "the business" through a Higher Power fellowship and others who had fallen down the same hole. When I finally stopped I didn't know what I was going to do for money, how was I going to support myself. I could have never gotten out of the business by myself. Even then, it took me years of therapy to finally think that I was worth something other than giving my body away to men. It breaks my heart to hear about these young women who go into this business. As a young woman you are so impressionable, easily persuaded by the compliments of men and the money. But it is only a trick. The fast money, the attention is so attractive but in the end when you are too old and no one wants you, suicide is the only option. Strong women like myself need to carry a message to the women of Dubai that they have choices and do not have to go into this business. Dubai's government needs to organize a women's group to help these women get out of this horrible business. You cannot do it alone but you can do it.
As long as human civilization exists, prostitution has existed and will exist. All we can do is regulate and control the trade such that the participants are not abused. Perhaps UAE should learn the trade best practices from the Nevada brothels. That way, males do not go around proposing and harassing women on the street and shopping malls.
There is no doubt about the fact the if the Dubai government wanted to eradicate this they could, this is obviously a part of their service. They could wipe prostitution out of Dubai, no probs. they are the leaders innevitably they are to blame first.I dont believe in this nonsense about that it's a big problem and it will take a long time to solve. The pimps should be treated like criminals. Dubai doesn't need dirty money.IS IT WORTH BEING NUMBER 1 IN THE WORLD FOR EXPLOITING WOMEN? HEAVEN HELP US WHAT ARE WE DOING.
manchester, united kingdom
The documentary is just a tip of the iceberg. I was a regular traveller to Duabi and loved it. I remember when my mum had taken me in 2000 for my graduation present. I went back many times, but now refuse to go back. Man, it's all about drugs, money laundering, pimps and prostitues. I really feel for the women in the country, and sad for the Arab born men in that country who sleep with prostitues and then go home to their wives.
Of course human trafficking is horrific and despicable and should be fought with every available means and protocol. But that is different from the people who choose to do it. It seems the idea of choice is contested by Ms. Chakarova; I grant that it is of course true that people of means usually don't choose to be sex workers. But then neither do they choose to work at McDonalds or mine coal in China. Are the independent sex workers at Dubai clubs sexual/gender victims or is their sexuality/gender simply the means by which they are run through the capitalist machine? The market for prostitution in Dubai occurs at the nexus of patriarchy and capitalism; thus it's pretty easy to take pot-shot critiques of. But both patriarchy and modern capitalism are rampant everywhere - the rot is spiritual and social and cannot be cured without the inclusion of said means. Is Ms. Chakarova of the opinion that the free-agent sex trade in Dubai be strictly illegal and cracked down upon, as she heavily implies in the video? It may squelch part of the demand but would it not just drive the rest into the black market where human trafficking is rife? Should the women who moved there knowing full well what they were getting into be criminalized? Regulation might be the better way to go, but that isn't really realistic in the Middle East. So in the end, what is the shocking story here? What you gonna do about it (that's only half rhetorical)?
Mohammed - Oklahoma City, OK
I think this documentary is very accurate and touches on a very sensitive issue in the Arab and Muslim world. Prostitution whether we like to admit as Arabs and Muslims does exist in our societies and matter of fact is very common. Mimi, I think you are a brilliant journalist and I could tell you that if you actually go to more open Arab countries like Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt you will be surprised and you will be able to uncover and reveal the roots and source of this uncivilized trade and see how uncharacteristic this to Islam.
Khalid M - Washington, DC
It is sad to see how different countries are learning the bad side of capitalism rather than learning that human rights must be protected, people need to be treated equally, and jobs need to be created for the spoiled citizen. I thank God that I do not live in a dirty place like Dubai....And Mimi you did a good job and God Bless.
Shocking, shocking and more shocking!
Matt - Provo, UT
This piece, tragically, blurs the line between sex slavery and prostitution. While there may be a spectrum of coercion involved in this seedy business, equating the two cheapens the real horrors of sex slavery. Had this been a piece on capitalism and the poor, that would be one thing. Indeed, capitalism causes many of us to sell our "souls", even if we're not selling our bodies. This is a far different moral question than actions taken in defense of ones life, as happens in sex slavery.
I think my husband enjoys the prostitutes in Dubai. They must be very beautiful. I hope they don't have diseases.
I must say that this article has been exagerrated. Prostitution is not only in UAE but, is vast around the world across major cities and alleys. Because UAE is a Muslim country and such illegal things are not allowed according to the law and Islamic regulations there are people who do it from hiding. If women like us had the power we will personally wipe out all prostitution. These women (prostitutes) are adults and mature enough to make their own decisions. If they did not want to follow this path I am sure they can have much better jobs than selling themselves. What is left for them is money which buys luxuries but a body that is used is like a knife being stabbed everytime a stranger gets his pleasure. It's two sides to every story and something has to be done by the government,the people who are sharing the honey pot of UAE, have to make a better UAE, not bring their illicit actions to a country which is giving them opportunities legally to make their lives better.STOP PROSTITUTION AND MEN SHOULD ZIP THEIR NANAS!
Suki Falconberg - los angeles, california
As an ex-prostitute, I can attest that girls who escape return to it because they feel they are worth nothing... My sexuality, my whole being, was stripped from me. Insanity is the only path I can go down if I let myself remember the absolute revulsion and disgust of being violated by drunk men I didn't know. My only defense was numbness but I could never become dead enough to block out the unendurable. If Sasha has serviced "mechanics, soldiers, priests, butchers, UN Peacekeepers," she has had multiple men shove themselves into the most vulnerable and sacred center of who she is. I doubt if going back to prostitution is any kind of `choice' for her. If poverty is involved, there is no question of `choice.' And prostitution is not the oldest profession. Pimping is. I have achieved a Ph.D. and written books, but this still cannot give me dignity or peace...I would like to see Ms. Chakarova visit the military brothels around American bases in Korea where girls have been trafficked in from Eastern Europe for use by U.S. troops. The few who escape describe being broken by their owners through beatings and rape, the deep humiliation of being forced to dance naked for the soldiers, the terror of being beaten again if they cry when the men take them into back rooms for sex. This horrifying death-in-life is the norm for most prostitutes. I don't really think any woman chooses prostitution. And once it is forced on her, she is never normal again....
Calgary, AB, Canada
Mimi Chakarova hails from Bulgaria, studied her craft in the US of A, and has traveled the world in her eyes. Yet she is so blind to the fact that what she writes about is not limited to the countries she targets for her own self interest. Don't tell me that prostution such as found in the countries that she writes about does not exist in her native Bulgaria, or in the USA where she studied or in other European countries, yet she won't investigate and write about what goes on in these places because she know she will be treated like a piranha.
The women who claim to have been brought to these places under false pretexts, are equally to blame, for if they had sought employment in their own countries they would never be in this predicament at all, but being as they are with the greed for the almighty dollar and perhaps too stupid to be gainfully employed in their own countries, fell prey and easy targets to the scoundrels that traverse the world. Why should we believe what a reporter has to say or even the prostitutes? Who says she or they are telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
Where did you get the idea that our reporter Mimi Chakarova does not cover the problem of sex trafficking in a host of countries around the world?
John Edwards - Alexandria, Virginia
I had hoped that the reporter would have gone into detail as to how these women ended up the way they did. Meaning? A lot of the women that are in this business are women who got to the UAE in search of a different profession.They would arrive there as maids or nannies and after being physically abused by their employers wives and sexually abused by the young men (husbands and sons) who take all their i.d upon arrival have no choice but to flee. But then what?
They possibly cannot go home empty handed so they are forced.Yes, it is true that the money does soothe the pain but only because they are forced into it.
There are a lot of "straight" women in the west who like to point fingers at prostitutes and feel superior to them, when in fact they have married for money and status and in my opinion, are less honest than bona fide whores. They know they can always tap into their "severance package" by divorcing their husbands on some pretense and extorting even more out of them through child support, alimony, etc. I always say free sex simply does not exist anywhere. The only question is of the currency accepted as legal tender. Women in the west are taught early to try to extract as much as they can from men in exchange for sex, yet pretend to be better than prostitutes. This is utter hypocrisy. I have more respect for a street whore than I do for a cocktail party vulture. It isn't just in Dubai that all women have a price.
The trafficking of sex slaves, and forcing sex workers into slavery, is of course abhorrent and deserves to be exposed and disbanded with every available law, protocol and means. That, however is a different issue from women who choose to sell their bodies. It is true that people don't generally choose to be sex workers if they're rich; but neither do they choose to work at McDonalds or mine coal in China. Does Mimi believe that the women are more exploited than other "wage slaves", to use a Marxist term? Are they made victims by their gender and sexuality? Or is this simply the particular vehicle by which their persons are run through the capitalist machine? Does Mimi believe prostitution should be illegal in Dubai (and/or elsewhere)? Would this stop the world's oldest profession or just move it all to the black market where human trafficking is rife? In my view, prostitution shouldn't be illegal. It should be regulated. We must recognize that as the oldest profession, it's a social problem, and can only be kept to a minimum by a social solution. Moralizing doesn't work. The modern sex trade is just one facet of the alienation and existential morass that infects our late capitalist cultural milieu. We have to extend our empathy and love outward to every human being, and recognize that, regardless of religious belief or lack thereof, we must transcend it spiritually. On another note, it is very interesting how gender, demographics, religion - fit together in this case. With a 66% male population in Dubai and conservative patriarchal attitudes to sex and gender relations in the Middle East as a whole, the region is a pressure cooker in more ways than one. In such a situation, if I was a woman I think I'd rather have open prostitution than have to put up with all the pent up sexual frustration. One person in the video actually said that.
Dan Allen - Montpelier, VT
I wanted to send personal 'thanks' to Mimi, her camera woman, the producer, and all the other people contributing to this film. This was dangerous work for a critical cause. This kind of information is what we need to have a chance at managing globalization with reason, facts, compassion, and other human gifts.In addition, I got to wondering, is there an ongoing debate/discussion among film journalists regarding the reporter appearing within the film? No complaints about this film at all... this film is great, should be seen by as many people as possible. From another angle though, clearly, the reporter adds explicit bias. I noticed one of the most recent Frontline specials, "Cheney's Law", kept the reporter(s) off camera and out of the sound. I happen to have found that piece extremely compelling. I guess if I were qualified, I would think something else. My untrained perception is that too many reporters make their stories personal. Again, I would emphasize: this story on the industrialization of sex in Dubai was absolutely perfect so far as I am concerned, so I would not use this as an example of 'too many reporters.' I would just advise caution with regard to appearing in news films, due to the loss of 'objectivity.' I think your work is one of the most important things happening in the world today. We really need people bringing home pictures from around the world so we can have a clue how to deal with it.Best regards,
FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
A fair question. Glad you raised it.
From the very beginning six years ago, FRONTLINE/World has differed somewhat in form and content from our parent series, Frontline. (Though we both adhere to the highest journalistic standards.) We are an international news magazine and our stories are shorter than the standard Frontline hour. Frankly, this enables us to produce more stories that otherwise would never be broadcast on Frontline or on the web.
Our series also has a mandate to discover and mentor young talent and offer a platform to a more diverse group of reporters and producers. Finally, the idea of the series has always been to focus on a reporter who takes viewers on a personal journey of discovery. How much a reporter appears on camera varies from story to story, but the reporter is always present, and yes, it is his or her tale to tell. We follow the same principle for the videos, like this one, that appear on our web site.
Many of us who have made documentaries for many years for Frontline have used a variety of styles to tell our stories. We don't think there is a single correct way.
But on FRONTLINE/World you will generally find a more personal touch to the reports.
Thanks for your interest.
al adam - saintpaul, MN
Wow, what about the shiekhs who think they are Muslims and who live in Islamic countries? Do they care about Islam? I think there is lots more bad things that are happing in Dubai you don't report. But thanks for this, Mimi!
These women do this voluntarily and are paid. I found the earlier stories on sex slavery to be troubling, but these women hardly seem victimized. The report seems based on the ideal that erotic services are inherently deeming to women, which does not seem to be the case. It may even be empowering by providing a woman with no other skills a chance at financial independence. The biggest obstacle these women face might even be the condescending view harbored by people such as the reporter in this story, who associate their job with a personality flaw, rather than a rational choice.
Robert - Tucson, Az
After reading some of the posted comments, I feel compelled to add my own reactions to the report. My belief is that the equivocating and shoulder shrugging as it relates to prostitution is shameful. If it is conscionable for women (or men) to be used as commodities for sex, however well they are paid, why not willing children or people that are mentally ill? I am shocked that our "Muslim Ph.D. Scientist and world traveler" post seems to rationalize the practice of prostitution as means of curtailing child molestation and sex crimes, and views the engagement of a prostitute for sex as a lesser sin. Surely the use of women purely for ones sexual pleasure is a sin? The basis of the sin is the denigration of a child of God. Or does he think that prostitutes are not objects of God's divine love? Additionally, if the woman (or man or whomever) can be bought and sold for sex, what makes our learned scientific world traveler think the pathology of that behavior won't reinforce other abusive behaviors when a prostitute is not available? We need to face the facts that there are no victimless people when it comes to own sexual pathologies, not even ourselves.
Simpson Bailey - Bronx, New York
"Night Secrets" was a good piece of investigative journalism. For better or worse, prostitution serves a need. Mimi's expose' showed various women who consciously chose to be sex workers. But what about women who had no choice? What about women who are victimized by pimps or others who take most of their sex earnings. Mimi doesn't show that. If there are no UNWILLING sex slaves in Dubai, then all parties get what they deserve! The "if" is the real question.
Y K - Toronto, Ontario
All you sanctimonious quacks have some nerve! This is a film about prostitution in a place that's overrun with money and men. Has nothing to do with Islam, or stoning women (which they don't do in Dubai), or covering women up (not done in Dubai either), or any other Arabian Nights BS that stews in ill-informed heads. This happens in every place where there is lots of disposable income - even in Fort McMurray (Canada), where the average age is 32 and the average income is $92K a year. It also happens down there in Jesusland, where porn is a $50 billion a year industry. So please, think before you moan and lament about "hypocritical Arabs and Muslims who are doing such unthinkable things that would never happen in Europe or North America." Get a passport, and travel a little. You'll see what I mean.
And to all the people who were offended by Mimi's smoking: Please! Smoking is a bad habit, not a moral dilemma. Grow up! Finally, great work, Mimi. Solid journalism.
New York, NY
I applaud Mimi's efforts in raising this issue. I however disagree with her message and think the Dubai exercise was a waste of her time.The reality is that the women in the segment, as Mimi herself points out, are content in their choice of profession. This didn't go down well for Mimi and she had to resort to veering further away from reality.I suggest she tries Turkey where there are genuine issues with human trafficking and where she can indeed be that knight in shining armor and making better uses of Frontline's resources.
Mimi sets out to frame these activities within a predetermined narrative, and succeeds in her job. The film is as much a vanity piece of self-reflection of moral contrast with its subjects as it is an examination of the trade. The last interview is particularly striking for how leading her final questions are. In the tradition of second wave feminism, she imposes victimhood upon her interviewee without seeking to truely understand the individual.
This is a great piece, but in many ways it ignores the larger political debates about prostitution. In Europe, some governments are experimenting with legalizing prostitution as a way to both protect the women and allow them to control their own money, etc... In the U.S., the Bush Administration has limited financing to charities in developing countries that assist prostitutes. But the U.S. government has also passed a law that criminalizes sex with a minor even if done abroad.In some ways, I think these types of pieces are great because they shine a spotlight on an issue prevelant in EVERY part of the world. But I think that this one doesn't get much beyond the "sex" factor to include reporting on the larger picture.
Dubai well documented! Why was her room ransacked?..
This shows how confused these Dubai Sheikhs are. They want the prostitutes but they don't want the world to know they are doing it!
- London, England
Mimi's done well getting people to talk to her about the issue. But surely all the film reinforces is that wealthy cities/ countries globally attract prostitutes (and crime and drug dealers, and other vices). Not a new concept in my book. The last interview with the woman sitting on the bed could have happened in Daytona Beach, Dublin or Darwin -- there's nothing unique about Dubai in all this.
That's not true. Dubai is a very clean city. But the dirty people are always looking for something dirty and they will get it in places all over the world.
Muslim scientist PHD World traveler - San Jose, California
Legalized and controlled prostitution, such as Dubai's example, is part of a healthy society because we are humans made of brain, flesh and hormones that control our brains and flesh. Patience, I will get to the brain part. There are many examples and counter examples around the world to this oldest profession, like it or not. At this ratio of foreign workers of 3 men to 1 woman , not counting the local Dubai Arab females, this is the most realistic and least evil way to control other dangerous sexual crimes committed such as rape, child molestation, sexual harassment, gay sex and many more including self-sex. Compare low percentage rates of sex crimes in Europe to those in U.S. and other countries that prohibit prostitution, excluding unreported crimes. How many inmates would be saved in the U.S.? How many sex offenders would be saved, potent or day dreaming. How many men and women enjoy pornography, is this natural?...The real issue is: if the local Dubai Arabs, married or not, commit that Islamic sin. THE holy Koraan legalized 4 wives only if the man is able to sustain their living expenses and entertain them and not just for pleasure, for those who abuse the issue. Mormons [in the past] also allowed more than one wife to control the hormone drive. The Koran also prohibited self-sex but did not provide a practical solution to single men on how to find a wife. That is the problem.
Nice report, but another ordinary expose, you know folks, there's always exemption to the rules and there's always the other side of the coin. Even in the most conservative family, we can not say that there's no "black sheep" just like a prodigal son or daugther. In a garden of roses and orchids, you can't expect that there's no grasses living on the ground, let us all be realistic. Let us open our eyes and our minds to reality, prostitution as well as sex workers are very common especially in a booming country where buildings grow taller and taller, and the roads reach the oceans. I think that the economy and prostitution are directly proportional -- as the economy reaches the top, prostitution is on its way to the peak also. That's the law of market, the root of all business...
Jhada Addams - Washington, DC
To address the person commenting earlier about Mimi's smoking habits, why would you allow your children to watch a story on prostitution in Dubai? It kind of makes me think your morals are in the wrong place. As to the actual piece itself, very informative. Wonderfully done.
So if Dubai was conservative, we would have the world rag about how non-modern it is. Is Amsterdam a modern country? Oh no, hold on! Sex is for free there. Thailand, no that's home grown sex not imported! Russia? No! again home grown. Yes this does exist here in Dubai but the country IS not making money from this. You think this country is growing with the income of hookers?! For God's sake be realistic and face it! It's only because it happened in Dubai not somewhere else.But over all I'm for exploiting the truth ALWAYS but do NOT put the blame on the sheiks or if you do, DONT exclude the rulers of other countries for exporting this nasty business to the world!
I have been to the York International Club, and lots of prostitutes tried to take me out. It was so sick to realize that the government of Dubai doesn't care about this because it's good for business. All they care about is $$$. The human rights abuses in the AGCC are incomprehensible. The whole idea that Dubai is a beacon of capitalism or tolerance in the Middle East is a load of bull...
Why does Mimi choose to smoke on camera? Even if it's to make it seem she's so "real", Mimi is setting a terrible example to young adults and kids.
FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
From Mimi Chakarova: There are certain environments and stories we work on where smoking allows people to relax and not feel judged when interviewed. It is also
culturally and socially accepted in many countries throughout the world. It is my hope that our viewers will focus on the story and the questions raised rather than whether I'm smoking or not. But for those young
adults who are reading this, smoking is hazardous for your health, does not make you "real" and is a terrible, stinky habit.
JOEL LAWRENCE - Berkeley, CA
SHORT YET VERY INFORMATIVE AND WELL DONE VIDEOS SUCH AS MIMI CHAKAROVA'S "NIGHT SECRETS" BECOME INVALUABLE WINDOWS ON THE REALITIES OF OUR EVER CHANGING WORLD.
Great movie, but a lot of hypocritical comments! C'mon - if you are working in a decent bar, you will see so many women who insist they have an appropriate job -- and how dare you [as the proprietor] ask them to leave. However if they stay, they start just minutes after the discussion "fooling around" and glancing around until they find their prey.OK, they do not earn a fortune in a normal job, but neither do they in their countries. You know I am sick of discussing this, because most of them make their decision [to be sex workers] and I only have the trouble to keep them out.
I can't open the video, but I can imagine what happened in the video.Woman should get education and work respectably, love a man and get married.
shaheen hussain - sharjah, united arab emirates
I have lived in the UAE for many years but have always lived in Sharjah. These tales about Dubai are so true. I have met prostitutes in planes coming to Dubai, I have encountered many women who work in low paying jobs and even work as prostitutes part time. Really Dubai is a very sinful city. I am happy that since I work and live in Sharjah I have little need to make that 12kms trip to Dubai. I guess that the Government keeps its eyes closed because the prostitution is a magnet and draws visitors and even expatriates to the Hotels and Night Clubs. Without prostitutes there would be less sex tourists. Dubai is a bad place for women to enter alone at night. I remember bad experiences like once I went with a Filipino lady friend of mine to Dubai to eat out. Both of us aged over 40 years old we parked my car and were walking to Rigga Road and a man was following us in a car flashing his lights. I mean this kind of thing is all too common. In Dubai the men assume every woman is a prostitute. I love Sharjah because of it's religious Islamic values and women are not disturbed. The Government of Sharjah doesn't encourage prostitution and severe action is taken against men who disturb women. I really hope Dubai cleans itself up soon, it's so unGodly what is happening. It reminds me about Sodom and Gomorrah, and we know what happened to these towns.
This is the edge of capitalism -- where everything has a price. Every form or government during its beginning stages and when it breaks down always abuses everyone. Men, women and children and the elderly. The women it is clear are lost souls but the men are as well. Far from home in a strange country paying for a few hours of companionship, these men are losing themselves and are being taught that they can have happiness for a price. At some point someone must tell men that if they pay for something that can really only be earned by time and attention it will little by little take away their chance of ever finding a woman who will love them.Possibly we can see where love has gone in our world. A woman who trades her body for money dies inside but men who do this are also not attractive to regular women anymore. After seeing this film single girls that I know have decided that some man who has been to Dubai may not be somebody any of us would want to date. Oh and those super religious guys are a total turn off Muslim/Christian/Jew, whatever. Atheist Geeks may just turn out to be saviors of the world.
Richard Walston - New York, NY
I can not believe how you people are all like so shocked. When I was in Dubai I saw a bunch of girls coming off another flight at an airport. All blonde hair and blue eyed. I was truly shocked she never mentioned things like this. I honestly believe this a tip of an iceberg that she has no clue. Any culture that finds Harems acceptable and tons of foreign workers in it's country and you are shocked? Welcome to the Barbary Pirates of the 21st century, my friends, the same people that enslaved young woman just for sexual reasons!
Los Angeles, California
The program, the report was tragic and angering ; at least there are still people in the world (Mimi) who do not think that TV or internet is only for entertainment or supposed to be about happy things. Whether or not there is a better, less degrading way of practicing prostitution, a way that seems to be the goal of some European countries, the sad and irreputable fact is that around the world numerous women are enslaved, dehumanized, exploited physically and mentally and, unfortunately, I do not see any real progress done in prevention. Until we concentrate on this problem and do our best eliminating it we can not talk about successes in advancing women's rights or achieving a more egalitarian world society. Future generations will laugh at our blindness and hypocrity. Every time, honestly, the previously non-Capitalists (Arabia, Middle East...) tell us that what they do has been invented by the West and, therefore, it has no ground to criticize or pinpoint to violations of human rights, anger rushes in at their being so stupidly passive. One wants to shout at them: Go ahead, invent your own system, if you can do so, instead of finding excuses in a geniune attempt made by people that you may try to improve and not exploit! It is still all about money, pleasure, power and illusion. As for the governments of the countries where prostitution and trafficking is at its worst, another hundred years will not be enough for them to wake up and act.
7612 Parkview Drive, South Carolina
What a shame! Right in the so-called 'holy land' and in an Islamic nation where women are not allowed in public and even then, must be veiled. I say that all of the Arab and Muslim women should remove their veils at once and drive and as long as they do not commit fornication nor adultery, they should be as free as the men. That way, the men over there will be forced to do right and they should not have foreigners in their nation engaging in illegal activities.
Night Secrets opened the doors on many of the underlying problems that exist in Dubai. Human trafficing is a crime against humanity and should be prosecuted. Denial and censorship such as vandalising journalists' hotel rooms and confiscating video footage is not effective. Prosecuting pimps and closing down hotels is. I found it so offensive to see Muslim men engaging in this practice, particularly as they require their women to be modest and fully covered, ( that includes when they are eating publicly). It woud be great to see a sequel on the millions of dollars the Sheik collects from the sales of alchohol in these establishments, (another practice Muslim men are forbidden from) as well as the licence fees. Then we come to understand Dubai's hypocrisy and why nothing is done to protect these women whose only crime has been poverty.
Jerry Downing - Lewisville, Texas
Prostitution is not called "the world's oldest profession" for no reason. That is no excuse for anyone to support it or to condem the people who feel the need to practice it or to pay for the services. When we chose to treat everyone with love and respect we will search hard for ways to reduce the need for such degrading work. Seeing every person as a beloved child of a Great Creator, worthy of our care and empathy may be a small step to a better world for all of us. No person can be mistreatsd without it having a negative affect upon each one of us. See each one as your brother or sister and offer them your protection where you can.
Esra'a Al Shafei - Manama, Bahrain
This was a really great way of humanizing victims of one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. I take much shame in the fact that forced prostitution has become so rampant in my Gulf region in the heart of the Middle East. We have yet to see real and effective efforts from our societies and our governments to stop such things from happening, and to professionally treat and help these unfortunate victims instead of imprisoning them whenever they complain.
Like Laith said above, I agree that this is a widespread issue.. happens all over the world. But I've personally seen too much in our own backyard, and am amazed at how much people get away with where I am.Something must be done to stop this horrific injustice, and I wish I knew what it is. Spreading awareness in such an inspirational way, like Mimi did, is in my opinion part of the long-term solution. But now that we are aware of the problem, it's up to us to do something about it.
Laith Raouf - Dubai, Dubai
I had been in Dubai for the last 11 years and yes there are prostitutes in the streets. Maybe they are more obvious than in Beirut or Cairo but much less so than in Moscow or Paris or even Montreal and North America in general or Amsterdam or Frankfort. I have seen prostitutes all over in those countries and their stories are always told in the papers and how these girls were trafficked in containers and so on and how much they suffer from their pimps or owners.We must speak about those issues in order to help these people and not as degradation of one country or another.The great capitalisms and democracies create such lucrative environment for the oldest trade in the world and to flourish again and again. I was in Russia in the early sixties, during the (brutal) communist regime and rarely saw a prostitute except in or around hotel (Inturist), where they entertained rich capitalist foreigners.Here in Dubai they do not have their own local prostitutes and the population is mostly male and their desire is what attracts foreign pimps and prostitutes to come and make their living.Do you want to see those people stoned so that you will criticize cruel Arabs and Muslims for being so brutal?...Let us be realistic and try to solve the problem of prostitution in the world in general.
michael plumer - Detroit, MI
Even in so-called Islamic countries, men still go to prostitues for sex. Yet they will stone women for infidelity. But I never see the men stoned for infidelity.
Victor Malarek - Toronto, Ontario
An eye-opening documentary. The images are powerful and the stories of the young women gripping.What is truly disturbing is the lure of money and glitter, especially to girls from destitute and impoverished nations.Lastly, it comes as no surprise that Mimi's hotel room was vandalized!
Night Secrets is what I call solid, investigative journalism.
The Rough Cut "Night Secrets" by Mimi Chakarova is an innovative, moving and sad piece. I was especially moved by the interview at the end with Sasha.