Friday, June 1, 2007

Fleeing Iraq to to be enslaved by sex trade

The Cwzy Muslima nabbed a story I missed in the NY Times: "Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria." Iraq's refugee crisis -- maybe it should be considered the world's crisis -- is acute. More than 4 million displaced, thousands arriving in Syria each day, many hoping to make it to Europe. The U.S. has only admitted 800 since 2003, but Wednesday announced it would accept 7,000. Here is what is happening to some of the women making it to Syria.

MARABA, Syria — Back home in Iraq, Umm Hiba’s daughter was a devout schoolgirl, modest in her dress and serious about her studies. Hiba, who is now 16, wore the hijab, or Islamic head scarf, and rose early each day to say the dawn prayer before classes.

But that was before militias began threatening their Baghdad neighborhood and Umm Hiba and her daughter fled to Syria last spring. There were no jobs, and Umm Hiba’s elderly father developed complications related to his diabetes.

Desperate, Umm Hiba followed the advice of an Iraqi acquaintance and took her daughter to work at a nightclub along a highway known for prostitution. “We Iraqis used to be a proud people,” she said over the frantic blare of the club’s speakers. She pointed out her daughter, dancing among about two dozen other girls on the stage, wearing a pink silk dress with spaghetti straps, her frail shoulders bathed in colored light.

As Umm Hiba watched, a middle-aged man climbed onto the platform and began to dance jerkily, arms flailing, among the girls.

“During the war we lost everything,” she said. “We even lost our honor.”

1 comment:

Affad Shaikh said...

In response to this article some community members in a email list i am on believed that coming to America would be better. Just becauase coming to US would seem safer, it is not. The US is a prime destination for "sex traders" for their "sex slaves". America has not abolished slavery, it just exists in this new form. In fact, men in the US marry Asians and bring them into the US to enslave them in their homes and hold their immigration papers.

I would actually go even further and say that there are Muslim brothers who do the same. They abuse and constantly threaten their Muslim wives about having them deported and sent back- to the point where one brother refused his pregnant wife from seeking medical assistance after beating her with a chair.

The US is no safer place then any place in the world, the only thing safe about the US is that we have laws in place to assist people in these circumstances, no matter how hard it is to help these people, there is that sense of hope. It takes educated and well-intentioned people in our community to help people in these situations. So i hope this is a form of education and the next step is to educate others and connect with resources to help people in these circumstances.

One last thing. Unfortunatly, amongst the service providers to women in these situations, it is a common assumption that Muslims and Islam condone this sort of behavior because we do not speak out or work on these issues when members in our community are faced with these situations. That is far from the truth, i believe we are just so caught up in a bubble and the topic is such a taboo topic that we dont even legitimize its existence- UNFORTUNATLY this assumption is not lived down by our community because of the inherent silence that is found on this topic.

This is slowly changing. I have seen more and more people- Imams (community leaders)- speaking out against this. Articles in newspapers pointing this issue out, as well as community non-profits being set up to assist people in these conditions. I think alot of this has to do with "the Muslimization" of many social ills once seen as being solely "American".