5 men force physically challenged persons to beg in UAE

The victims suffered from a range of disabilities, including hand amputations and congenital deformities.- Alamy image
The victims suffered from a range of disabilities, including hand amputations and congenital deformities.- Alamy image

Sharjah - The Pakistani accused brought the victims as young as 14 on visit visas.



By Amira Agarib

Published: Sun 13 May 2018, 9:15 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 May 2018, 11:22 PM

The Sharjah Criminal Court has charged a gang of five men with forcing 14 physically challenged people into begging on the streets of Sharjah.
The Pakistani accused brought the victims as young as 14 on visit visas from their own country ahead of Ramadan.
The court heard the statements of the 13 victims, even as a 14-year-old boy, who was exploited by the gang, was receiving psychiatric treatment in a hospital.
The victims suffered from a range of disabilities, including hand amputations and congenital deformities. Nine of the victims were in their 20s and four in their late 40s. They could only speak their native language.
The victims were coaxed into training on how to earn people's sympathy so they can dole out alms. The victims said the defendants put them up in an accommodation in the industrial area.
During the court hearing presided over by Judge Mahmood Abu Baker, the victims said they were rescued after being arrested by the cops and were among the 35 beggars brought to the police station. On interrogation, the cops learnt that they were trafficked by the five Pakistanis.
During the police and prosecution interrogation, the suspects confessed that they had brought people with disabilities from different parts of their home country, including a large number of amputees, to make them beg in the UAE.
During the court hearing, the first accused contended that two of the victims he brought were aware that they would be used for begging.
While the third and fifth accused denied all accusation, the second and fourth defendants were not confronted by the court.
The Sharjah Police said the criminal investigation department (CID), in coordination with the patrols team, during an intensified crackdown, found that a large number of physically challenged beggars were infesting certain pockets of the city. They monitored their movements and arrested them. Later, the police were able to locate the hideouts of the gang members and nabbed them, too. The police said the victims were being kept in extremely shabby living conditions, which was affecting their health.

Promised jobs, but forced to beg

Most of the victims had a similar tale to tell. They were promised jobs and later, given a raw deal.
Mohamed Saleem, a 23-year-old victim, told the court that one of the defendants brought him from Pakistan. He said the accused had promised him a vendor's job, but pushed him into begging.  The alms that he received had to be handed over to the accused on a daily basis, he added.
Hanif Mubeen, another victim who has deformity in his right hand, said he came to the UAE because he needed work. One of the defendants who brought him had given him the impression that he would work as lamps seller, but he found himself begging in the streets of Sharjah, he said.
Mohamed Asaqer, a 23-year-old victim, said one of the gang members made lofty claims about providing a decent living to him in the UAE. He put him up in a room in Sharjah industrial area. However, the accused made a U-turn and told him that he would have to beg to eke out a living, he said.
Nasir Ahmed, aged 48, whose left hand is amputated, testified that he was brought by one of the suspects who told him that he would sell mobile phones. But he ordered him to beg for survival and took away all his money.
Mohamed, another youth who fell into the trap, said one of the defendants brought him to the UAE and told him that he would sell perfumes. But later, he was given training for begging and thrown into it.
Saai Ahmed, whose right hand is amputated, said the first suspect told him that he should act in such a way that people sympathise with him and give him alms.
The remaining victims - who dreamt about beating their physical deformities - met with the same fate after landing in the UAE.
During the police and prosecution interrogation, the suspects confessed that they had brought people with disabilities from different parts of their home country, including a large number of amputees, to make them beg in the UAE.
During the court hearing, the first accused contended that two of the victims he brought were aware that they would be used for begging.
While the third and fifth accused denied all accusation, the second and fourth defendants were not confronted by the court.


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