Two Bangladeshi men have been sentenced to five years in prison for trying to force a domestic worker into prostitution and then offering her for sale on a social media app when she refused to comply.

A third Bangladeshi man who escaped capture was sentenced to the same term in absentia for his part in the plot, which began in June last year, eight months after the Ethiopian victim arrived in Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai Criminal Court heard that the woman was persuaded by an Indonesian woman she worked with — later identified as the girlfriend of one of the perpetuators — to abscond to Dubai and take up work that would pay 3,000 dirhams (US$817) a day, The National reported.

“I asked her what kind of job it was, but she never gave me details,” the woman said in court. She was collected from her employer’s home by two of the Bangladeshis and taken to a house in Dubai, she went shopping the following day to buy new clothes “for work”.

“When I saw the clothes I panicked — they were all short and indecent. I asked what kind of work required me to dress like that and they told me it was prostitution,” she said.

The woman refused for the next 10 days to work as a prostitute and the defendants then offered her for sale on WhatsApp for Dh3,500 (US$953). Police were tipped off and an officer posed as a buyer.

“He agreed on paying Dh3,400 (US$925) after they sent him a picture of her and the three decided to meet in Al Karma park so he could pay them and take her,” a police lieutenant told the court hearing.

Undercover police arrested two of the men, but the third escaped. Contraceptives and money transfer receipts allegedly linked to prostitution were found afterwards in the defendants’ homes.

The two arrested men denied human trafficking and facilitating prostitution at an earlier hearing in September last year, but were found guilty. They were fined Dh100,000 (US$27,229) in addition to the jail sentence and will be deported when it is completed.

Read: Four men jailed in Dubai for trying to sell Indonesian maid

Read: Two men charged with ‘selling’ Indonesian maid in Dubai