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BEIRUT, Lebanon – Rich Saudi Arabian men – some of whom are closely associated with the Saudi royal family – have been purchasing for their sexual pleasure Syrian girls and young women from among the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war conflict to Lebanon and Jordan, evidence suggests, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Most of the Saudis suspected of such atrocities are in their 60s and 70s. When they tire of the girls, these Saudi men often hand them off to other men, or the girls somehow just disappear, witnesses say.
“They come into Lebanon and Jordan and go to the Syrian refugee camps where the Syrian families there have nothing,” one Lebanese source said. “The Saudis then offer $200 for girls aged nine to 14 years and take them from their families. Because the families are so desperate for money, they give in to the temptation.”
Local Lebanese sources say that it is the Sunni Saudi men who make such overtures. Shiite Iranian men do not engage in such activities. However, Qatari men reportedly also have engaged in such activities with the young Syrian girls, but less so than the Saudi men.
Similarly, rich Saudi men will come into Syria, approach a family with a young woman and offer as much as $250,000. They then take her back to Saudi Arabia where they then will share her with other men once the purchaser has become tired of her.
“Given the influence the United States has over Saudi Arabia, why hasn’t your president confronted the Saudis about this?” one Syrian asked. “Sometimes, the girls are returned to their families, but they won’t have a future” in a society that protects girls and young women who later want to get married.
Sources say that the Saudis are especially fond of the Syrian girls because they speak Arabic and are attractive.
The U.S. is on record as opposing human trafficking. The problem is so rampant, even in the U.S., that Congress enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Since then, there has been the passage of a United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, similarly adopted in 2000.
“Through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its reauthorizations, Congress has aimed to eliminate human trafficking by creating international and domestic grant programs for both victims and law enforcement, creating new criminal laws and conducting oversight on the effectiveness and implications of U.S. anti-TIP (Trafficking in Persons) policy,” according to a recent Congressional Research Service study.
Yet, there has been no confrontation by the U.S. toward Saudi or Jordanian authorities on their practice of taking advantage of the most vulnerable – the Syrian refugee girls and young women.
According to the CRS report, trafficking victims are often subjected to mental and physical abuse in order to control them, including debt bondage, social isolation, removal of identification cards and travel documents, violence and fear of reprisals against them or their families.
“The suffering of the Syrian people is bad enough,” said Zafar Bangash of Crescent International. “They are now faced with a new, more sordid dilemma. Young Syrian girls…are being purchased by rich Saudis and Qataris, some in their sixties and seventies.”
Just as this observer has seen similar exploitation at a major Syrian refugee camp outside the Lebanese town of Zahle, such activities also occur in Jordan where authorities refuse to provide help and prevent international charities from assisting.
“This is going on at every Syrian refugee camp,” one source said.
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