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 Sex trade blights Kurdistan-Iraq

 Source : IWPR
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Sex trade blights Kurdistan-Iraq 28.7.2005
By Frman Abdul-Rahman in Sulaimaniyah

 




Prostitutes and their customers are flocking to Sulaimaniyah from across Iraq.

Business has been brisk for Nasreen, a prostitute and a pimp, since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The easing of travel restrictions that allows Arabs to travel more freely to Kurdish areas - which are considered to be safer than other parts of the country - has brought more prostitutes and customers to the north.

“Before, we could hardly find four to five customers,” said Nasreen, who declined to give her real name. “But now we have some prostitutes who can find 30 men a day.”

Nasreen is part of a network of 73 prostitutes for whom she sometimes acts as a pimp, taking half of what they earn. Most are poor and unemployed, she said, and earn 1,000-25,000 dinars (70 US cents to 18 dollars) per customer, depending on the client as government officials and rich businessmen pay more.

“Loss of hope in life and poverty have led us to prostitution,” said Nasreen.

Nasreen’s network submitted a petition to the Iraqi Kurdistan interior ministry asking for help in finding jobs so they could give up prostitution.
They have not received any response so far.

Major Muhammed Tahir, a section commander in the Sulaimaniyah police, acknowledged that prostitution is on the increase as Arab prostitutes come to the area from central and southern regions of the country.

Recently, a group of six Kurdish and Arab women were arrested as part a government crackdown on prostitution. Security forces are also trying to combat its spread by trying to stop women from traveling on their own, though there is no official rule preventing them from doing so.

“We are trying to prevent prostitution, because it has bad consequences for our society,” said Tahir.

But others in the police force believe the reports of a rapid increase in prostitution are exaggerated

“Although prostitution is carried out secretly, we are able to control it,”said Sulaimaniyah police chief Major General Rizgar Aziz

Nasreen said many policemen are part of the problem as they ask the prostitutes they arrest to have sex with them.

“We are the most underprivileged group in the community,” she said.

Roonak Faraj, a programme manager at the Women’s Cultural and Media Centre who is conducting a study on prostitution, said there was an urgent need for action.

“If attempts are not made to control the phenomenon, we fear that AIDS will spread, because sexual awareness is very weak here,” said Faraj.

Frman Abdul-Rahman is an IWPR trainee in Sulaimaniyah.

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