But when they arrived, their belongings and mobile phones were taken away, and the women were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution. What followed was an ordeal of beatings, torture and abuse — until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels and dismantled the operation in late March. The discovery of the sex trafficking ring and the rescue of the women deeply shocked tiny Lebanon, a Mediterranean Arab nation already overwhelmed by the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war, and prompted calls for investigation. The case, which involves 75 female victims, is considered the worst sex trafficking scandal in Lebanon in decades and has raised questions about who might have shielded and enabled such a vast network.
Prostitution in Lebanon
Sex Role Images in Lebanese Text Books | SpringerLink
Lebanese women enjoy almost equal civil rights as men. However, due to the large number of officially recognized religions in Lebanon , Lebanese family matters are governed by at least 15 personal statute codes. Muslim women can legally marry Christian or Jewish men; for example a Lebanese Catholic man can marry a Muslim lady on the condition of getting their children baptised, otherwise, the couple may opt for civil marriage performed abroad, which can be registered at any Lebanese Embassy, thus giving it official recognition this is a particularly popular option, with Cyprus usually acting as the destination of choice. Children born to a Lebanese woman and a man from another country will not have their children granted Lebanese nationality. Local and regional NGOs have helped to increase awareness of violence against women in Lebanon. The family in Lebanon, as elsewhere in the Middle East region, assigns different roles to family members on the basis of gender. The superior status of men in society and within the narrow confines of the nuclear family transcends the barriers of sect or ethnicity.
Syrian women’s sex slavery jolts Lebanon
The only time Rama, a year-old from Syria, broke down as she recalled her months of torture and sexual enslavement in a human trafficking ring in Lebanon was when she described how she lost her faith. Over the course of an hour, Rama — not her real name — described in harrowing detail a hellish nine months as part of the largest sex trafficking ring ever uncovered in Lebanon , in which she endured torture, including being beaten with cables and an electric baton, with a bathroom mat in her mouth to keep her from screaming. She was forced to have sex on average 10 times a day and imprisoned in a decrepit house without even a glimpse of sunlight. She also detailed the abuse of the other women who were enslaved in the network, forced to have abortions after unprotected sex with customers, and subjected to inhumane physical and psychological torture. Her account meshes with details obtained independently by the Guardian from security and judicial sources involved in the investigation of the network, which eluded authorities for four years and enslaved 75 Syrian women.
Syria's refugee crisis has shone a light on sex trafficking in Lebanon, where victims are often treated as criminals. Everyone in Lebanon's "sex trade" seems to be involved in trafficking in one way or another: Sources at both the Internal Security Forces ISF and the General Directorate of General Security GS in Beirut told Al Jazeera that even pimps working further down the chain of command ultimately report to a bigger network of organised traffickers. Paul has learned the ins-and-outs of Lebanon's trafficking world over the years. Beirut, the Lebanese capital, and Jounieh, a coastal town about 10km 6. A GS officer estimated that there are at least women and girls who have been forced into prostitution in these areas.