Girl Children between five and 12 years old are sold to wealthy men in Saudi Arabia, where they are held as sex slaves. When they reach puberty, many are thrown into the street and they end quickly as prostitute.
Published: 09.mai. 2011
Save the Children asks Norwegian and Swedish ministers take up the matter with their Saudi counterparts, and ask private companies to take up the exploitation of children when they hit their business.
- I am not surprised by the information about the existence of such traffic to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, particularly in light of that marriage with children is widespread and accepted, said Sannah Johnson, Regional Director Middle East for the Swedish Save the Children.
A well-organized network of traffickers supplying the Arab market with child brides from the North African country of Mauritania, says U.S. diplomats. Sex slaves taken in their thousands from Yemen, in addition to that there is an extensive sex industry in Yemen offering sex with minors to rich men from the Gulf States, the WikiLeaks documents that Aftenposten and Bergens Tidende has access to.
7. April 2009
An engaged woman meets an American diplomat in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott. The day after writing a diplomat report back to Washington. To start it:
"There is an increase in reports of trafficking in child brides to Saudi Arabia. The girls, usually between five and 12 years old, married off to wealthy Saudi men in exchange for the hefty price tags on the brides. Once they arrive in Saudi Arabia, they are their husbands sex slaves. "
The engaged woman named Aminetou Mint El Moctar. Completely on his own, she has started a campaign to get the authorities in Mauritania to take the problem seriously. She will not even reply to their letter and ask why the United States take up the issue internationally. The U.S. embassy is she finally someone who listens.
Aminetou Mint El Moctar says that traffickers seek out poor families to get them to marry off their daughters to wealthy Saudis. The younger girls are, the higher the price. A child bride may be paid with 5 - 6 million in the local currency ouguiya, equivalent to around 120 000. Local travel agencies, which in reality is a network of human traffickers, organized traffic. The local agents receive a bonus paid by the girls' future husbands. The exact amount depends on the girls' age and beauty.
The embassy memo states that "barnebrudene, as soon as they arrive in Saudi Arabia, are their husbands sex slaves." Aminetou explained that the girls, as they reach puberty or become pregnant, no longer of interest to their husbands. "They rolled on the street, and since they do not have a network, they have no choice but to become prostitute."
Officials from the U.S. embassy tells of a girl for three years was locked in a room where she met someone else than her Saudi husband and his maid. They also refer to an article in the Radio France International with a diploma from seven-year-old Mulheri who were exposed to the traffickers and sold to Saudi Arabia.
At the same time victims of trafficking in danger of being prosecuted in Saudi Arabia. Mint El Moctar told diplomats that around 30 Mauritanian women are sentenced to imprisonment in Saudi Arabia for the prostitute, even if they are victims of trafficking.
Mauritania has long refused to recognize the problem. Faced with U.S. diplomats have a representative of the Mauritanian Ministry of Justice claimed that "the trafficking of Mauritanian women do not exist, and that trafficking to Saudi Arabia is not possible because the laws require that a woman can only travel accompanied by male family members."
According to the embassy note has Aminetou Mint El Moctar told that she has "received death threats and she is called" liar, a mad woman and a traitor that destroys Mauritanian reputation. "
Aminetou Mint El Moctar was last year honored by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently for his work against human trafficking and to address the problem of child brides on the agenda of the African country.
U.S. publishes reports on human trafficking in all countries of the world. In Saudi Arabia it says in the latest report from 2010:
"Many Saudis, including some representatives of the government continues to deny that some types of human trafficking takes place, particularly in cases involving sexual exploitation."
Sanna Johnson, Swedish Save the Children leads the organization's activities in the Middle East from his office in Beirut. She says that independent organizations do not release to Saudi Arabia and that the country is very closed.
- We know the effect of child laborers and domestic workers are virtually no rights in the country. They have no rights. The kingdom has given support to the professionals employed in hospitals where women who have been abused, be received. This means that the government acknowledges that the problem exists, says Johnson.
- There are things that are not acceptable, as the marriage of minors. It must be highlighted. I think the governments of Norway and Sweden should take it up with their Saudi counterparts, when the opportunity presents itself. I also think private companies should take it up with their business partners in the country, says Johnson.
- The large companies, such as in the arms industry, may have a very big impact, she says.
Married for a while
Johnson also points to the widespread practice of so-called temporary marriage in the Arab countries. In order to circumvent the prohibition against sex outside of marriage, included men in these countries, temporary marriages with girls and young women from many countries.
There is also some evidence that the practice of child brides is about to become a controversial issue in Saudi Arabia's semi-public spaces. Many of the population is opposed to the practice. A few examples are discussed in the national media:
A local judge in the town of Nejd refused in 2008 to overturn a marriage between an eight-year-old girl and her man in his fifties. The girl's father sold her to settle its debt to the man. A higher court granted a divorce in April 2009.
The government-affiliated Commission on Human Rights in Saudi Arabia managed to get annulled a marriage between a 10 year old girl and a 60-year-old man.
A court in Bisha issued in October 2008, the divorce document to end a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 70 year old man.
In January 2009, won an 11-year-old girl presented with a case to be annulled a marriage with a 75-year-old man held the girl's 70 year old father.
In Saudi Arabia's neighbors Yemen is the problem of sex tourism, human interest and child brides formidable. It attracted international attention when 12 year old Fawzia Abdullah Yousef died in childbirth 11 September, 2009. She was married to a 24-year-old, only 11 years old.
According to a note from the Embassy of Yemen's capital Sanaa, about 25 percent of all girls in the country are married before they reach age 15. Yemeni authorities have, to the United States, expressed frustration over how little Saudi Arabia is doing to combat human trafficking from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.
According to an embassy note, thousands of children each year in Saudi Arabia, "where they face abuse and brutal living conditions."
Local human rights groups said it was long common for Saudi Arabia detained minors, and minors must also have been beheaded. Since 2008, Saudi Arabia, however, returned several minors to Yemen, instead of taking them into custody.
That the rich tourists from the Gulf states travel to Yemen to buy sex, is a public secret in Yemen. Minors prostitute working out of many of the hotels in the country.
The embassy memo states that "Saudi men travel to Yemen to recruit underage prostitute, sometimes in the form of temporary marriage." One source says he knows of "at least three cases where Saudi men married Yemeni girls, only to force them into prostitution in Saudi Arabia."
Saudi arabia and the international sex slave trade