Children Used on the Front-line of #Islamist Demonstrations #egypt

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Shocking footage has emerged of Egyptian children being dressed in white ‘death shrouds’ in preparation for their ‘martyrdom’ by pro-Morsi families in a large demonstration at Rabaa al-Adaweya.






The children were heard chanting pre-rehearsed lines and were seen carrying posters that say “I am ready to die!” during a short march.
This is not the first time that such images have emerged, however media and government attention over the issue remains spotty, as debates over politics have quickly overshadowed social problems plaguing Egypt.
Under both international and local law, using children under 18 years as a tool for politics and placing these children at severe risk of death or injury is illegal.
With an impending dispersion by the government of the pro-Morsi demonstration at Rabaa al-Adaweya, it is evident that the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of children will be put at severe risk.
The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (a government department) has expressed concerns over the issue and has even labelled the use of children as a political tool “human trafficking.”
However, with a budget of 48 million Egyptian pounds ($US 6.85 million) and just 193 employees and due to current turmoil, the council lacks the necessary resource, and ability to take necessary steps to ensure that this child abuse is tackled.
As of yet, it does not appear that non-governmental organizations have attempted to tackle the use of children as a tool for politics by Morsi supporters. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Egypt, however, is well-equipped and has previously provided necessary humanitarian and technical assistance to ensure children and mothers in Egypt are well-cared for.
Meanwhile, the media (both local and foreign press) appear to be enamored by recent political unrest, and have largely avoided tackling social issues.
Foreign governments meanwhile are still debating on whether to label Egypt’s latest unrest as a “coup” or a “revolution,” with the US Government deciding to not decide at all.
Though Egyptian Streets cannot independently call on government, UNICEF, or others to help ensure that Egyptian children are kept safe form such abuse, concerned citizens of Egypt and the world can, by ensuring that this child abuse is reported to relevant authorities, including local and foreign government representatives, NGOs, and the media.

Update: UNICEF acknowledges reports of child exploitation by political groups

The following statement was released by UNICEF in response to outrage over ‘child abuse’ at demonstrations:
“UNICEF is deeply concerned by reports that children have been killed or injured during the violent confrontations in Egypt over recent days. Disturbing images of children taken during street protests indicate that, on some occasions, children have been deliberately used and put at risk of witnessing or becoming actual victims of violence. Such actions can have a long-lasting and devastating physical and psychological impact on children. We call on all Egyptians and political groups not to exploit children for political ends, and to protect them from any potential harm.”
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Contacts:
The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood – http://www.nccm-egypt.org/e61/index_eng.html
Full list of NGOs in Egypt can be found on the website of Child Rights International Network (CRIN): http://www.crin.org/reg/country.asp?ctryID=63&subregID

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#Sex Trade: #Iraqi girls who Become Prostitutes in #Syria



This feature, written by Lina Sinjab (BBC journalist in Damascus), was published on the Middle East page of the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

With their bright neon signs and glitzy decor, dozens of nightclubs line the streets of the Maraba district in the Syrian capital Damascus.
It's here that men come from far and wide - car number plates are not just from Syria but Iraq and Saudi Arabia - to watch young women dancing.
Most of the dancers are teenagers and many of them are Iraqi refugees.
They dance for the cash which gets tossed onto the stage.
The dancers are surrounded by bodyguards, to stop them being touched by the men. But the guards also arrange for their charges to be paid for sex with members of the audience.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees have moved to Syria and Jordan during the past four years, escaping the violence and instability that followed the US-led toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Women supporting families face the greatest challenge.
The Syrian authorities and aid agencies do not know the exact numbers, but many of the women say they have little choice but to work in places like Maraba.

Lost innocence
Rafif is an innocent-looking 14-year-old, her long hair tied in a pony tail. She seems barely to understand the enormity of the crisis she is living.
"I have three sisters who are married and four brothers. They are all in Baghdad. I am here with my mother and young brother only. None of my family know what I do here."
Banned from doing regular work in Syria, she says their money ran out and her mother started looking for other means to survive.
She says she makes about $30 a night at the clubs, but when men take her to private villas she makes $100. She won't say what she must do to earn this money.
"A woman came and spoke to my mother, who agreed to send me to these places. We needed the money.
"I have already been arrested for prostitution and sent back to Iraq, but I came back with a false passport."
Not all sex workers went into the industry by choice.
Nada, 16, says was dumped by her father at the Iraq-Syria border after her cousin "took away my virginity".
Five Iraqi men took her from the border to Damascus, where they raped her and sold her to a woman who forced her to work in nightclubs and private villas.
She is now waiting at a government protection centre to be deported back to Iraq.
Exploitation
The government says police have arrested Iraqi girls as young as 12 working as prostitutes in the nightclubs.
"We are coming across increasing numbers of women who do not manage to make ends meet and are therefore more vulnerable to exploitative situations such as prostitution," says Laurens Jolles of the UN refugee agency.
"Intimidation and shame means the numbers of trafficking victims and sex industry workers in Syria may never be known by government or aid agencies."
Women picked up by the police are sent to protection centres, which they frequently escape from, or are sent to prison.
"Immediately after we get to them, or sometimes before, they are bailed out of prison, often by the same people who probably forced them into prostitution," says Mr Jolles.
Many of the young women who leave Iraq hoping for an easier, safer existence find what is in some ways an even tougher life in Syria.
At an age when life should just be beginning, Iraqi teenagers like Nada feel they have reached a dead end.
"Now they will send me back to Iraq, I have no-one there and in any case I am afraid for my life. I have no hope leaving here. I have told the government I don't want to go back. My family has abandoned me."

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Brides Bought, Sold and Resold







With millions more men than women in India,  many wonder about the state of bachelorhood in IndiaOffering.  Jaisalmer.

There have been arguments that this “shortage” of women [as if women are a commercial resource] would force the ‘gender’ ratio to fix itself! But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The gender ratio keeps plummeting, and you don’t have communities going into panic saying “We need to find a woman for sex and reproduction!!”   Why is this economic/ “women as commodity” theory not working out the way it was assumed it would?


Perhaps because Indian men indeed view women as “commodity!”  And since there is a shortage of “female commodity” the users have found other methods of procuring women! They are now BUYING, SELLING, AND RECYCLING! It is another response to “commodity shortage”, and is essentially the Indian version of DOMESTIC SEX-TRAFFICKING.   This is a practice in India that is as old as female gendercide, and there are reports that it existed even as early as the 1900s.  Only now, with plummeting gender ratios, the practice is out in the open and increasing rapidly.  It is often referred to as ‘BRIDE-TRAFFICKING.’



Much of this sex-trafficking is in the guise of ‘marriage.’   Each family, community and people involved call it a ‘marriage.’  The girl or woman is sold as a ‘bride’ to a man.  She may be married to one man in a family but is used for sex and reproduction by the other men within the same family.  She is then re-sold again as a ‘bride’ to another family.  Some women are sold and resold up to four times, and there are indications that there are thousands of such ‘brides’ being trafficked in the name of ‘marriage.’ Most of these girls are 15 years or younger and often kidnapped and sold into “bride-trafficking”.

Government officials explain their lack of action against this form of sex-trafficking with, “”If they are legally wedded, what can we do.”

However, from many rural areas, families will often sell their daughters to a commercial “agent” for as little as U.K. £15

There is one report of a man beheading his “bought” wife for refusing to sleep with his brothers.

Munni who was forced to have sex with her husbands brothers, has had three sons from them.  It is interesting that all her children are boys, no girls.   It is believed that there may be many more women like Munni in the region. Here is Munni’s story in her wordsBride of India:

“My husband and his parents

said I had to share myself with his brothers…

They took me whenever they wanted – day or night.

When I resisted, they beat me with

anything at hand…Sometimes they threw me

out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over

me and burned me.”



ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS: Claire Pismont and Delphines are members of The 50 Million Missing Campaign’s Photographers Group on Flickr.   supported by more than 2400 photographers from around the world.   To see more of each of their works, please click on the pictures.





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