Tuesday, May 29, 2007

NYT: Refugees forced into prostitution

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." She insisted on being identified by only part of her name -- Umm Hiba means mother of Hiba.
For anyone living in Damascus these days, the fact that some Iraqi refugees are selling sex or working in sex clubs is difficult to ignore.

The above is from Katherine Zdepf's "Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria" in this morning's New York Times. The exceprt (and article) says a great deal about what's happened to the people of a country but it is interesting that the New York Times, all this time later, has no interest in telling about the brothels being run in Iraq. It's interesting because those are known and they do even exist in Baghdad. The point being, you don't have to look to Syria to find Iraqi women who have been forced into prostiution.

From CNN:

Eight U.S. troops were killed Monday in an attack in Iraq's Diyala province, a U.S. military official said.
The official said that a Kiowa helicopter was shot down between Baquba and Muqdadiya with small arms, killing the chopper's two pilots.
A quick-reaction force was called in to recover the chopper.
One of the force's vehicles was struck by a roadside bomb, and five more U.S. troops were killed. A second vehicle in the force was hit, killing one soldier.
The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq during May is 112, making it one of the deadliest months of the war.
The deadliest months for U.S. troops occurred in 2004 -- 137 in November and 135 in April.
Since the start of the war, 3,454 U.S. service members have died. Seven civilian contractors of the Defense Department also have been killed in the war.

CNN also reports that two Baghdad car bombings have left at least 38 dead today and that at least three Germans

Reuters reports a bombing in northern Iraq that has killed six US service members. (Use the link and you'll see that really is all they're reporting -- that one sentence.)

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