Sunday, January 13, 2008

Human Abuse in Syria - Part 1

Years ago, we used to point fingers at the Arabs in the oil-rich countries and accuse them of all sort of abuses, we used to hear and tell stories of the Asian house-maid that are not being treated as humans but as objects owned by their employers. We used to hear stories of human trafficking in Dubai where girls from Asia and East Europe are being fooled to go there and once they arrive, their passport are confiscated and they are forced to work in prostitution.

“Money does more than that in the hands of uncivilized people”, we used to say, nodding our heads in disgust

Few days ago, a friend called me and invited me to a different style of parties. He picked me up 1 AM and we went to a club somewhere close to Damascus. We walked in and there was more than 20 girls standing on the podium, dancing, moving their bodies with the rhythm of the music. Around the podium, the tables filled with hungry men, who sat there drooling.
The drill is that anyone can pick up any of those girls and have her seated at his table where he makes his offer to her for the next day. It costs $10 to have her at the table and god knows how much to have her as a treat for the next day.

I managed to get the numbers of two girls. I called the next day and asked them about their story. They both were sad when they were talking. They kept saying, it was the need that brought us into this hell. The first girl, her stage name is Nesmeh, was born in 1987 from Morocco, used to be a hair stylist back home before she read an ad about lucrative employment in Syria in the field of her expertise. She signed a contract and was brought to Syria to do what she does now. The other girl “Khouloud” was born in 1985 in Morocco. She was a waitress and came to Syria under the impression she will be waitressing as well. When I asked them why not to go back after they discovered the truth, they said that the only way to obtain their passports is to pay back the amount of 100,000 S.P. ($2000) plus the money of the flight tickets, all which they can’t afford nor dare to call their poor families for help.


They are put in a hotel in Damascus which they can only leave 4 hour per day. Pretty much like a prison, but instead of taking the daily break in the yard, they are allowed to take it in the streets, mainly to meet with the customers and fulfill their desires.

I know this is not new in Syria. I had always heard about it but had never seen it nor talked to the girls forced to do it. It’s known that the people behind this business in Syria, which is extremely lucrative, are people that nobody can touch or dare to go near, let’s say, the privileged minority of the Syrians.

*I sneaked in my mobile phone cam to shoot a few seconds of what’s going on there.