My parents divorced while I was six months old. My mother worked selling garments to keep the home together. When I grew up, I helped her in her work, until I married a boy I loved from a neighbouring town. I moved to live with his family but the tense relationship between myself and his family destroyed our marriage after I had given birth to a son and a daughter. I returned to the father for the sake of my children but insisted that I stay with my mother until he could rent a house for us.
I had two friends, Fatima, and Samira, who married an Arab boy and moved with him to Abu Dhabi. One day, Samira contacted me to ask about me, after Fatima told her about my separation. I told her things were improving and that I was living with my mother until my husband arranged a home for us. She offered to issue us a visit visa to have fun, saying that we could stay in their house, and she asked me to send a full length photo of myself.
I was intent on persuading my husband to travel, even though he preferred visiting his brother in Spain. I did persuade him, and we sent our papers to my friend, who told me a week later that only my visit visa was ready, and that his visa was rejected. My husband refused to allow me to travel alone although my friend and her husband called him. My family intervened and were able to persuade him. When I arrived at Abu Dhabi Airport, I was met by two people, one of whom was Khaled, Samira’s husband. When I asked him about her, he told me that she was waiting for me at home. We left the airport, they took me to an apartment, where there were five girls. I went to the leader – a woman called Mona and asked about my friend, she replied: she was not available. I became very afraid, and I wanted to go back home. She agreed, provided that I repaid her my traveling costs, amounting to 11 thousand dirhams- I had only 5 thousand dirhams. To pay my debts, I had to work as a prostitute. When reality hit me, I cried a lot. I stayed all night long, thinking in my family. Next day, the woman gave me a mobile phone to make my mother feel assured about me. She warned me not to talk about anything else. I contacted my mother, telling her secretly about what happened to me, asking her not to tell my husband. A week later, after refusing to work, Mona threatened me that she would go to the police station and allege that I had stolen from her. An Arab girl was there at the time and asked me to pretend to agree to work, ask to go to a beauty centre, and then escape to any police station and make a report. After the woman had dropped me at a nearby beauty centre, I asked her to leave until I finished there making her feel at ease that I could not escape because my passport was with her, and I had no money. When she left, I and escaped, stopped a man and told him my story. He sympathised and gave me 500 dirhams. Then, I took a taxi and went to a police station. I called my mother to tell her about what I did. In the police station, I told the officers in charge my story. They asked me to co-operate with them. Within a couple of hours, they arrested the gang, and then moved me to the Ewa'a shelters for victims of human trafficking in Abu Dhabi. There, I underwent an intensive rehabilitation programme. Later, I told my husband about my situation, and promised him that I would come back immediately after overcoming the ordeal. When it was time to travel, the shelter gave me money to go back to my country, and start my life afresh with my family.