World 8 UAE Princesses Sentenced for Human Trafficking in Belgium

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Unfortunately as is often the case there is a great difference between our precipitation of things and the way they really are. The case appeared to the Belgian government after one of the servants escaped from the hotel where the princesses were staying.

As the case began to receive publicity in Belgium and overseas more details about the princesses and their servants began to emerge.

Eight Emirati princesses were convicted of human trafficking by a Belgian court on Friday and were given suspended jail terms and fines in a case stemming from their treatment of servants at a Brussels luxury hotel almost 10 years ago, their lawyer said.

A Belgian court has found a princess from Abu Dhabi and her seven daughters guilty of mistreating around 20 servants forced to work for them in a plush Brussels hotel. The court of Brussels sentenced them to 15 months of conditional imprisonment and fines for 165 thousand Euro each.

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They said they were forced to be available 24 hours a day, had to sleep on the floor, were never given a day off, were prevented from leaving the hotel and were forced to eat the princesses' leftovers.

Myria, a Belgian rights group which helped bring the case to court, said the importance of Friday's judgement "can hardly be overstated".

During the trial, the lawyers princesses denied all charges.

While this case is noteworthy for the fact that the punishment did not fit the crime it is hardly the first of its type to occur in Europe.

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