An American TikTok influencer has been stuck in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the last two months and U.S. officials are now working to help get her back home to Texas.
Known as "The Sassy Trucker" on social media, Tierra Young Allen shares her travels as a trucker with more than 180,000 followers on TikTok and 44,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Allen traveled to Dubai months ago, but what was supposed to be a fun trip turned into a nightmare. For the last two months, the 29-year-old says she has been without her U.S. passport and is unable to travel or leave the country after she was involved in an accident and an altercation with a rental car agency employee.
Allen says the agency impounded the car she was renting -- and her passport and credit cards.
Radha Stirling, the founder of Detained in Dubai, an organization based in the U.K. that supports tourists stuck in the UAE, says she has been working with and is in touch with Allen. Stirling told "Good Morning America" Allen was involved in an argument over fees charged by the rental car agency and that in the UAE, there are laws against shouting, name-calling and profanity. Under Emirati law, publicly insulting another person is also punishable by up to one year in prison and a hefty fine.
"So, she went to the agency the next day to try to retrieve [her passport and credit cards, which were still inside the vehicle]. The agency [representative] refused to give it to her and, in fact, got into an argument with her, raised his voice at her," Stirling said. "He followed her out of the shop. She shouted back at him, you know, 'Stop! Leave me alone!' And then he decided to take a police complaint against her for shouting."
According to Stirling, other travelers have found themselves in similar situations, and in some cases "people have actually paid the fees to the rental car agency just to get their passport back, even if they didn't owe them anything."
She added that Allen was in "a desperate situation, really, she didn't have the money that they were demanding."
CEO at Detained in Dubai