Sunday, April 13, 2008

SYRIA: New draft law targets sex traffickers

Photo: Haretha Yousuf/IRIN
Clients throw paper money at an Iraqi prostitute in a bar outside Damascus. Syria is working on a new law to target trafficking, which agencies say includes bringing girls from Iraq to Syria
DAMASCUS, 17 March 2008 (IRIN) - In 2003 Hiba (not her real name), then aged 11, was forced to marry her cousin. The following day she was driven from Baghdad to the border with Syria and sold to traffickers. In Damascus she was forced to dance in night clubs or private homes. Four years later, pregnant and abandoned by her handlers, she was imprisoned by the Syrian authorities on charges of prostitution.

[Read this report in Arabic]

When the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) found her, Hiba was on the point of being deported to Iraq. Instead, the UNHCR - to whom Hiba told her story - arranged for the teenager to be resettled in Canada earlier this month, where she recently gave birth to a baby boy named Zaman (Arabic: time).

“He’s named after the time I never had,” she said.