Saturday, December 5, 2009

From the Jerusalem Post:
Rising numbers of Iraqi women are being sold into sexual slavery every year because of the waning economy and security situation. Human rights organizations are highlighting the plight of Iraqi women and young girls, sometimes as young as twelve, exploited by criminal gangs for profit.

"The women trafficking trade is at its height," Houzan Mahmoud, representative abroad of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq said. "There has never been a situation as extreme, and it's frightening. Many of them have been trafficked to neighboring countries like Syria or the Gulf states or trafficked internally inside Iraq from one city to another."

The Baghdad Women's Organization estimates that at least 200 Iraqi women are sold into slavery every year, although the US-basedHuman Rights Watch estimates that the numbers are in the thousands. The organization warns that the figures may be higher if Iraqi refugee women in neighboring countries such as Syria and Lebanon are also counted.

With relatively few rights, the ability of Iraqi women to reintegrate into society after prostitution is limited. The women are often ostracized, attacked by their community and harassed by the authorities with charges of immorality.

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