A man has been given a one year jail sentence in Dubai for selling his sexual services via Snapchat.
The Moroccan visitor to the emirate allegedly uploaded naked images of himself to the social media platform in an effort to attract clients, Gulf News reported this week. The man's account was discovered by a lieutenant with the Dubai Police’s Cybercrime unit, as the officer was scanning various profiles in June.
According to the police, the man was using pornographic videos and images to sell his sexual services. He has been identified only as a 22-year-old Moroccan who entered the country as a visitor. His Snapchat handle was reportedly: "kisses967."
After a warrant was issued to bring the man in for questioning, he came to the police on his own.
"The defendant turned himself in at the police station. He confessed verbally that he used the Snapchat account to meet men for sex. He claimed he had arrived on a visit visa seeking a job, but then made a living by working in prostitution," police said, according to the Khaleej Times.
The man also admitted to having sexual relations with multiple men for payments ranging between 1,000 dirhams ($272) and 1,500 dirhams. His phone was then confiscated to be inspected closer by authorities.
In court, the defendant was convicted of creating an account to post pornographic images, abusing social media and offering sexual services. He was also found guilty of having sex with men for money.
"The nude and pornographic images will be erased instantly and the devices used to post the images will be confiscated," the presiding judge, Mohammad Jamal, also ordered.
The man is also to face deportation for his actions.
Sex work is completely illegal in the UAE, however as in every country, many men and women still work as prostitutes. An anonymous Ukrainian pimp who claimed to manage high-end male and female prostitutes in Dubai told Vice last year that the women start at $1,000 per hour, and the men at $500.
The UAE is definitely not the only place where sex workers have turned to social media to promote their services. The trend has been growing around the world, with many sex workers seeing it as a safer alternative to meet clients.
At the same time, sex workers have complained that their profiles have been targeted for removal. The social media platforms generally site that such content violates their terms of service.