Reports of wealthy men from gulf countries roaming refugee camps in Jordan have become more common. Desperate to support themselves and their families, Syrian families have been known to sell their young daughters using temporary marriages, known as sigheh, segheh, or mu’ta. Wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Kuwait travel to Egypt to purchase women and girls for temporary marriages, facilitated by parents and guardians. Girls as young as 10 have been sold in this manner and later found in the streets of the men’s home countries with no way to return to their families and no one willing to take them in — except for traffickers. These children are throwaway kids, abused, used and discarded when the men are done with them.
Forced prostitution has grown along with the conflict and destabilization of governments in the Middle East. Syrian women who think they will become second wives to Egyptian men instead find themselves in forced prostitution, labor or begging. Facilitated by temporary marriages, Iran, a Tier 3 country not party to the 2000 U.N. Protocol, has a brisk business in forced prostitution among women and children from Syria and Iraq.
In Iraq, a Tier 2 nation, forced prostitution without temporary marriage is prevalent. Criminal gangs and police kidnap and force women into prostitution or rape them and put it on film, then blackmail them into prostitution. Iraqi taxi drivers have been reported to force Syrian women into prostitution, as have parents, husbands and other family members and trusted people. The victims are subject to repeated rape, torture, arrests, imprisonment and honor killings.
Egypt (Tier 2) is a destination for pedophiles, especially Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. Cities teem with an estimated 200,000 to 1 million street children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced begging. In Iraq, where there are large populations of displaced persons, families sell their children for sex trafficking.
While Egypt has laws on the books to prevent child trafficking, the identification of traffickers and investigation and prosecution of cases lag. In Iraq, there are no efforts to prosecute traffickers, though there are shelters for victims and laws against trafficking. Victims are treated as criminals and imprisoned. Families who sell daughters into prostitution will not take them back if they are arrested or returned to them.
The Saudi’s have been exploiting Syrian Children for years, with the current refugee crisis in Syria this disgusting crime can only be on a huge increase – the clip below shows such transactions taking place on the Jordan Border a year ago.