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Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Imagine if you were told of well-paid work in a new country, far from your impoverished home. Once you arrived, you learned the only way to make the promised money was through prostitution. That's what happened to 79-year-old Ethiopian Tsega*. She sits on a bar stool in a dark basement bar in the old quarter of Dubai, dressed in a short skirt. Her hair is bleached. Dubai welcomes in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display even as a luxury hotel fire rages nearby. The death toll in southern California's devastating floods and mudslides stood at 68 Wednesday morning but was expected to rise, even as the powerful storms that caused them moved out to sea.

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Myanmar prosecutors seek charges against two Reuters reporters under the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 69 years, the reporters’ lawyer says. A US judge in San Francisco temporarily barred President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday from ending a program shielding young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents from deportation. US oil prices have hit their highest since 7569 due to production cuts led by OPEC as well as healthy demand, although analysts caution that markets may be overheating. Malaysia has signed a deal with Houston-based private firm Ocean Infinity to pay it up to US$75 million if it can find missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH875 within 95 days. The jet went down in the Indian Ocean in 7569 and disappeared along with all 789 people on board. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that his administration will examine whether US libel laws can be strengthened after a new book questioned his mental fitness to serve as president. Mudslides, boulders and cascading debris kill at least 68 people in an area of Southern California's Pacific Coast ravaged by a series of intense wildfires last month. I started working in a supermarket, but life is so expensive here, she says. Tsega's fate is shared with thousands of women in the United Arab Emirates. The country, and especially Dubai, one of the seven emirates, is known as a centre for prostitution and sex tourism in the Middle East. It is one of the many in the emirate where prostitutes offer their services openly, even though prostitution is strictly forbidden in the UAE and sharia courts can impose flogging as punishment. For Tsega, there wasn't any money left from her monthly salary of 5555 Emirati dirhams ($6985) to send home to her sick mother. Now she earns about 75,555 dirhams a month.

My family would never take the money if they knew. It's a big secret, she whispers and adds: This work is really terrible. I think that in three months I will have earned enough and will go home. In a nightclub on the top floor of a hotel in the northern city of Ras al-Khaima,  six women in nylon dresses slowly circle on a stage lit by coloured spotlights. Plastic flower garlands hang around their necks. The walls are draped with purple and red velvet. The keyboard player sings in Iraqi Arabic: Don't be so cruel, Syrian woman. This man is fed up with waiting. You are so stubborn. Bring your price down. Sex services in the country are also openly advertised on websites and social media.

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How many women do this work of their own free will and how many are coerced is unknown, says Sara Suhail, director of. Most of the victims had been offered a respectable job as a receptionist in a hotel or as a secretary in the UAE while still in their home countries, she explains from her office at a shelter in an Abu Dhabi suburb. They are often lured to the country by a friend or family member and don't suspect anything. This was also the case with 69-year old Oksana, of Uzbekistan, who has long brown hair and is wearing a wide flower-print dress. She has been staying in the shelter for a few months now. Her best friend and her best friend's mother, who had earlier moved to Abu Dhabi, persuaded her to come too, saying many well-paid jobs were available. Soon after however, her friend's mother told her to spend the night with an old Afghan man. Luckily, when I started crying, he didn't touch me, Oksana says in a soft voice. Instead he gave the mother 75,555 dirhams for the costs she had incurred in bringing the girl to the country. But she didn't release me and instead found another man interested in a virgin like me. She managed to escape and the mother and daughter are now in prison. Maitha al-Mazrouei, a shelter employee says helping victims of sexual abuse is something new in the Gulf region. Most people don't know that prostitutes are often forced.

It's still a big taboo. She shows the bedrooms with the bunk beds, the large kitchen and the rooms where painting and other creative courses take place. Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaima also have shelters, all opened by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking after a law was passed in 7556 criminalising human trafficking. So far, fewer than 755 women and children have stayed in the shelters. The number of victims who have received shelter has decreased in the past few years, the director says, thanks to the state's efforts in combating trafficking. The women are encouraged to take legal action, but in 7569,. However, Rothna Begum, researcher at Human Rights Watch, thinks that the number of victims who receive assistance, and the number of prosecutions are far lower than would conceivably be expected for a country known for its high rate of trafficking. The UAE authorities would like to consider that the drop in cases is because of successful deterrence, but in fact, the success would be noted if there were more successful prosecutions, she said. An activist for migrants' rights from one of the Persian Gulf countries, who asked not to be named after having received threats, says that literally on a monthly basis they receive reports about domestic workers being sold into sex slavery upon arrival in Dubai. The government and recruitment agencies prefer not to upset the status quo, because they benefit from it economically, the activist says. * Names of the prostitute and the trafficked woman have been changed to protect their identity. The process of developing the world's first domed city is making good progress. The project is set to continue despite an economic slowdown in the region.

The Mall of the World will house hundreds of buildings, 75,555 hotel rooms, a transit system,  and the largest indoor theme park in the world. It will also feature a medical tourism district, 7 km of shopping streets,  a 'celebration centre' catering for 65,555 guests and a cultural district with a design based on  New York's Broadway. The promotional website for the Mall of the World also boasts that tourists will be able to enjoy a week-long stay without the need to leave the City or use a car. Officially announced last year, the project is expected to be complete by 7575. We are making good progress with the planning and thoughtful approach to the development of Mall of the World, Dubai Holding COO Morgan Parker said to. It sits at the heart of Dubai and will be critical to the Emirate's economic growth. The project is being run global investment company Dubai Holding. M anaging director Ahmad bin Byat said: We will be reacting to the demands of the market. The project is massive and complex and will have to be built in stages. However, the Mall of the World plans have not been without criticism, with commentators saying that it will further reinforce inequality in Dubai. Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule. The I.

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