Last year, Dubai emerged as the most important non-European destination for Belgian business travellers, thanks to its strategic location, the booming real estate market and an especially high concentration of stinking rich people. Journalist Filip Michiels and photographer Isabel Pousset travelled to the small emirate on behalf of Vacature Magazine and discovered that Dubai has a whole lot more to offer to the exhausted business traveller: prostitutes. In every colour, size and nationality, they populate the bars and nightclubs of dozens of luxury hotels. In the thousands.

Internationally renowned hotel chains like Radisson and Hyatt cheerfully play along earning thousands of euros for this lucrative business. And although prostitution is strictly forbidden in this islamic country, the immigration services, police authorities and the local establishment happily turn a blind eye to it. What’s more, they share with equal cheer in the forbidden fruit, earning lots of money by importing women from Eastern Europe and Asia and, at best for appearance’s sake, take action against the most extreme excesses of traffic in human beings.

Filip Michiels has won the 2010 Vlaamse Citi Prijs (the Citi Journalistic Excellence Prize) for press talent with this project.

Team members

Filip Michiels

Filip Michiels (1969) is a Belgian independent journalist and works for De Standaard, Trends, Mediafin, Feeling and De Morgen magazine

Isabel Pousset

In 2003, Isabel Pousset (°1976) graduated in photography from the academy in Ghent. Since 2004, she has been working as a freelance photographer for several newspapers and magazines including Vacature Magazine. She has gone on a number of assignments for this magazine including to Senegal, Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire and Palestine. 

A working grant of € 4.000 allocated on 08/03/2009.


Vacature Magazine, 30/05/2009.

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