29 year old influencer Tierra Allen, from San Diego, California who now lives in Houston, Texas, followed in the footsteps of countless celebrities when she decided to take a month’s vacation in the popular tourist destination of Dubai in April 2023.
The truck driving TikTok influencer @sassytrucker delivered exotic vehicles prior to her trip to Dubai. She was also looking into opening a trucking business in the glamorous Emirates. Talking to the CNN, Tierra said “I like to show that you can still be feminine in a male-dominated field, and a lot of people like to see that.”
Her hopes of enjoying a sun soaked holiday in the Arabian Gulf abruptly came to an end when their rental car was involved in a traffic accident. Luckily neither she nor her friend, who was driving the car, were injured in the incident. The car was impounded along with its contents including Tierra’s personal possessions; credit cards, debit cards and cellphone. When she visited the rental car’s office the next day to retrieve her possessions, Tierra recalls “the manager was being rude and mean to me. I felt so scared. He followed me outside the office and I felt very intimidated. I told him to stop but instead, he called the police and opened a case against me, apparently for “screaming”. I am in shock that he frightened me, I told him to stop, and now the police have said I can’t go home. I told them I had a medical emergency and needed to return to the US but they wouldn’t let me. I’ve now found out that the police could keep me here for months while they decide whether to prosecute me and if they do, I could go to prison!”
Women have been charged with having sex outside marriage after being raped and now it appears, they can't even defend themselves when intimidated by men.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who is helping Tierra, said “It is extremely common for rental car agencies to open cases against customers as a means to extort them. The hope is that whomever they perceive to be a ‘wealthy foreigner’ will offer them cash in order to drop the case. Only a few weeks ago, another young American unfortunately paid one of the rental car agencies so they would drop the case. The amount was approaching $20,000. Holidaymakers will pay extortionate amounts just to get home to their families and jobs even when they know they are being taken advantage of. Rental car agencies cash in on the insurance money and extort victims on top. It’s business for them.
“Tierra’s mother, Tina, contacted us, distraught that her daughter faced prison in a Middle Eastern country, notorious for human rights abuses and is calling on local congressional representatives and senators to help Tierra before it’s too late”.
“Im not sleeping”, Tina told Detained in Dubai, “I need to do as much as possible to help my child”.
Stirling previously notified Dubai’s police that they need to be more vigilant when accepting police complaints from rental car companies. “In some of these cases, it was clearly apparent that the officers involved were accustomed to receiving reports from particular companies and were likely receiving a share of the proceeds”. Police corruption in Dubai has been highlighted over the past decade but little has been done to clamp down on the issue. False allegations against foreigners are profitable to the accusers, lawyers and the hotels that victims are forced to stay in during proceedings.
“False allegations against visitors has been a profitable business for authorities, companies and individuals who use the justice system to extort tourists who don’t know how to navigate the complex legal system. The issue is so prevalent that more needs to be done to warn potential tourists and investors of these real risks.”
“Tierra will also find out first hand just how racist people are in Dubai. Not only is she a woman, but she is of African American descent and the UAE is notoriously prejudiced, whether it be the rental car company itself, or police authorities”.
Tina told Detained in Dubai “We are all humans, and it’s just shameful that we live in a world where one human will destroy another over skin colour. I’ve been so distressed over this situation and praying for her to come home. She’s always been the host happy, upbeat and energetic lady and it’s overwhelming to see her depressed and frightened. I really hope our government will step in and help her”.
Tierra is currently stranded in Dubai with her passport confiscated by authorities while they decide whether to prosecute. If convicted, Tierra faces a prison sentence, fine and deportation. Stirling confirmed Detained in Dubai has approached the US state department and relevant political representatives to support Tierra’s release.
Is this any way to treat visitors? Influencers should reconsider plans to promote Dubai with their presence.
CEO at Detained in Dubai