The Criminal Court has sentenced the owner of Sondo Born Beauty Care Salon, 64 year-old Abdul Latheef Ali of Henveiru Philadelphi in Male’, to four years in prison after finding him guilty of running a brothel and forcing three Thai women into prostitution.
Three Thai women – aged 21, 24 and 36 – testified in court that Latheef had forced them into prostitution after bringing them to the Maldives, ostentatiously to work as massage therapists.
Police raided the premises of Sonder Born Beauty Care Salon on 10 September 2012 in a special operation, and discovered a naked Maldivian man with a topless Thai woman inside a room in the house.
In a statement, police said a furth search of the premises revealed a supply of “tools used for sexual activities”.
Abdul Latheef brought the three Thai women into the Maldives through the sponsorship of a company called Asparagus Private Limited – a company also owned by Latheef – and put them work in the Sondo Born Beauty Care Salon, police said.
The three Thai women in their statement to police said they were brought to the Maldives to work as massage therapists but when they arrived Latheef had told them that their job description included having sex, and that if they refused to provide sexual services to customers they would be terminated from their job and sent back to their home country.
The Thai women told police that the customers who visited the salon paid at the counter first and then came inside and made another payment to the women, of which Abdul Latheef received a share.
Police said the Thai women had said they gave Abdul Latheef US$300 (MVR 4600) daily.
According to the women’s testimony, Abdul Latheef also handled the reception counter of the salon and was present during the police raid.
Police also said that when they searched the room where the Thai lady and Maldivian man was discovered, they found a large strash of condoms and pills used for sexual activities, and large amount of money.
The Criminal Court considered all these things as supporting evidence and found Abdul Latheef guilty of the crime.