Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Human trafficking on the rise throughout Middle East

As the socio-economic conditions in Iraq plummet, families are gravitating towards any opportunity to make extra money simply to feed their families. Parents are selling their children for what they believe to be domestic work abroad. However, in many cases, the children are sold into sex trafficking rings, according to a recent IRIN report.

Members of the rings tell the families that the girls will be domestic workers on a one-year contract, and promise to return them. However, in many cases, the girls simply go missing. The Organization for Women’s Freedom, a local NGO, has estimated that roughly 3,500 Iraqi women have disappeared since the U.S.-led occupation, and 25% of those are believed to be involved in sex trafficking.

Both local and international NGOs are demanding that more action be taken in order to ensure the safety of these women. The Iraqi government claims that it is attempting to investigate the cases of the missing women, but the persistent internal strife in the country has sidelined the issue. Other countries must also take a stronger stance on this problem. It is simple economics; as long as there is demand, there will be supply.

Countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Syria are the newest players in the burgeoning Middle East sex trafficking ring. In the UAE, it is believed that most victims of sex-trafficking operate within organized gangs out of hotels. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2006 Trafficking in Persons report, the UAE government is failing to act adequately to address this problem, with a significant portion of the small number of individuals detained in connection with human trafficking being the victims themselves. The UAE recently established a human-trafficking division, but more needs to be done. Since the problem of human trafficking has gone largely unnoticed, there are still not sufficient resources, legislation, or facilities to adequately assist victims or even to gather accurate statistics.

For the full article, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home