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Ladyboys in the Gulf

The riches of the United Arab Emirates hold promise for transgender sex workers, but also danger and unspeakable cruelty.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

28th December 2012 10:00

Alessia Valenza

Officials at Al Awir prison said they couldn’t confirm that she was held there and refused to comment on her accusations, but because Mya is a Canadian citizen, she says she made a complaint to the Canadian Consulate in Dubai while she was imprisoned. Although an official at the consulate couldn’t provide details because of Canadian privacy laws, she did confirm that they had a case matching this description during the time period that Mya reports being jailed.

Mya says that after she decided to cooperate with the prison guards, they eventually released and deported her. "They just let me go," she says. "When they decided I had suffered enough, they released me, just like that. No court, no nothing."

Diana, a Filipina transgender woman, says she was also arrested for sex work in Dubai. In a telephone conversation, Diana says she went to Dubai to be with her boyfriend, but after they broke up, she turned to sex work.

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Ladyboys in the Gulf

The riches of the United Arab Emirates hold promise for transgender sex workers, but also danger and unspeakable cruelty.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

1st November 2012 04:32

Alessia Valenza

"We are not criminals," she says adamantly in a Skype interview from San Francisco, where she is currently working. "When people come to see me, I take the appointment seriously. I do my best to make them happy. We’re all legal adults; my customers are not bad people. Sometimes they’re having trouble with their marriages; sometimes they just want more spice in their lives."

Unfortunately for Mya, prostitution is illegal in the United States — though not in Canada, where her website is registered. Because she is so easily found online, her name has been changed to protect her identity.

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