JEDDAH — Summary courts in Jeddah and Makkah have charged 24 people with human trafficking last year and each of them was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, 1,000 lashes and fines ranging from SR20,000 to SR100,000.
Quoting a court source, the Makkah daily said on Wednesday that 10 of the accused were in Jeddah — nine expatriates and a Saudi — while 14 were in Makkah.
The source said the courts in the two cities charged the defendants with human trafficking after 14 housemaids have accused them of forcing them into prostitution and other illegal work.
He said residents informed the police that a number of expatriate women living in houses in their neighborhoods were engaged in illegal activities.
He said the police rounded them up after closely monitoring their houses and handed them over to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP) prior to sending them to courts.
The women, who were not identified beyond being expatriates, told the court that some men promised to find them jobs with Saudi families but instead forced them into prostitution, drug smuggling and other illegal jobs.
The source said the women identified the men who hired them and the police immediately arrested them.
He said the men admitted their crimes in the court and said they were using the women to make quick money.
According to the source, the expatriates will be deported upon their release from jail.
Abdulaziz Al-Nuqali, a lawyer and a legal consultant, said the crimes of human trafficking in the Kingdom do not represent a phenomenon and are mostly committed by the men from the same nationality of the women.
He said the human trafficking chime also include turning young children and disabled people into beggars after providing them with accommodation and food.