Human trafficking to Iraq

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Posted by Anup Baral February 29, 2016:


Iraq is both a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Iraqi women and girls, some as young as 11 years old, are subjected to conditions of human trafficking within the country and in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran, and possibly Yemen for forced prostitution and sexual exploitation within households. In some cases, women are lured into forced sexual exploitation through false promises of work. The more prevalent means of human trafficking is through sale or forced marriage. Family members have coerced girls and women into prostitution to escape desperate economic circumstances, to pay debts, or to resolve disputes between families. Some women and girls are trafficked within Iraq for the purpose of sexual exploitation through the traditional institution of temporary marriages (muta’a). Under this arrangement, the family receives a dowry from the husband and the marriage is terminated after a specified period. Iraqi males have also taken advantage of muta’a to traffic multiple women into other Iraqi provinces or neighboring countries, especially Syria, for the purposes of forced prostitution. Anecdotal reports tell of desperate Iraqi families abandoning their children at the Syrian border with the expectation that traffickers on the Syrian side will pick them up and arrange forged documents so the young women and girls can stay in Syria in exchange for working in a nightclub or brothel. The large population of internally displaced persons and refugees moving within Iraq and across its borders are particularly at risk of being trafficked.
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