Eman Dakhiliya (female) was finally arrested in the late hours of Sunday night September 2\3 with the company of other traffickers and their serving pimps by an Iraqi security troop in central Baghdad. Eman’s many houses in Al Battaween, Karrada, and Palestine street in central Baghdad are served by Amar Zaytuna’s gang who kidnap girls and force them to work in Eman’s brothels; otherwise they kill them or at least damage their faces beyond recognition. Tens of prostituted women and girls live in inhumane conditions, under continuous threat of beatings, but with abundance of alcohol, drugs and hallucination pills.
The local police station of Al Saadoun cooperated with Eman since 2007. The police men who were not of assistance were transferred right away, as Eman has earned her title “Dakhiliya” which comes after the Ministry of Interior.
Trafficker of Human Organs too: selling human organs was complementary to her business of trafficking and running brothels. The women who could not pay cash for their debts usually could pay with their organs instead. It was a surprise for us also to believe why a prostituted woman would have debts. The traffickers always had ways of trapping the girls and women into addiction and other needs – which created another source of fear and pressure for them.
Women activists (of OWFI) working against trafficking: Eman was new in the industry when OWFI published a fact-finding report on Trafficking and Prostitution in Iraq based on documentation of 2008. We did not dare to present the study to the government as we were treated like “traitors” to the government while revealing issues of trafficking to the international community. Many other traffickers were listed in that study which was made public in 2010. The others are still free to practice and exploit their victims.
Eman revealed as trafficker in our Al Mousawat newspaper issue 17 – page 6 in October 2010 about Eman’s houses, gangsters, kidnappers and how much she charges per sale of a girl locally and internationally. The column was written after interviewing the victims.
Serious threats against OWFI: In the second week of October 2010, Eman Dakhiliya sent us her pimps Ammar Zaytuna and Abou Hamra to threaten the column-writer Wissam Yousef and OWFI vice president Dalal Al Rubaie to stay away from their business, otherwise they send us “behind the sun”. She also threatened to press charges against OWFI for publishing lies- Eman felt strong to use all legal procedures against us. Dalal Al Rubaie, OWFI v.p. immediately addressed a letter to the Minister of Interior Mr. Bolani about the threats. He did not care to respond.
OWFI activist announcing \ challenging in a press conference in August 6th : In a recent press conference which the Ministry of Interior held regarding human trafficking, OWFI activist Dalal announced in front of all attending officials from MOI and Society Police that the traffickers names and location are known; and that an arrest campaign should be held against Eman Dakhiliya instead of talking and giving empty promises in a conference.
Finally … the arrest: On the night of September 2\3, a special security force ambushed Eman Dakhliya with her gang and all were taken; breaking one of the most cruel trafficking rings in Baghdad.
Although she was not the only trafficker in Baghdad, her business thrived fast as she started out from the poorest neighborhood of Baghdad – Al Battaween – where the most vulnerable homeless young females end up tired, hungry and hopeless. A recent UN study counts Iraqi orphans of war at 5 million. If half of those are females, and half these females are teenagers, at least one million Iraqi female teenagers are vulnerable to the same destiny of being bought and sold into the sex industry of Eman Dakhiliya and others, while Iraq lies on one of the biggest reservoirs of oil in the world.
Background on Anti-trafficking Laws in Iraq: After 9 years of campaigning against trafficking of women in Iraq, we are pleased to announce that the government has finally passed a law that includes acceptable standards of protecting victims of trafficking. Nevertheless, application of the most important measures in the law are still pending.
Note: the Iraqi government does not grant any identification papers to women and girls who were trafficked which keeps them and their children as illegal and runaways all their lives with no medical or educational service.
We in OWFI have sheltered and taken care of them in the last years, but your help and support is most needed to empower those who were marginalized, impoverished and broken by the war on Iraq.
September 8th 2012