Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WikiLeaks: Child Brides & Sex Slaves

Human trafficking is the focus of many cables that were exposed by WikiLeaks. One in particular stood out and was discussed by Micheal Busch. He discusses the 2009 cable titled "From Child Bride to Sex Slave" between embassy officials and the president of a Mauritanian NGO that advocates for women's rights, Aminetou Mint El Moctar. They discuss the " disturbing trend in Mauritania of young girls being 'married ff to wealthy Saudi men in exchange for hefty bride prices' ".  The system looks like this: traffickers approach families in poverty and discuss a potential marriage between a rich Saudi man and the family's daughter. The amount of money is the driving factor for accepting the arrangement, since it can be close to $20,000.  The girl is then taken to Saudi Arabia by a travel agent, usually part of the trafficking network. She is then given to the husband and becomes his sex slave. Young and "fresh" girls are prized, thus after they become older and have lost their value to the husband, they are thrown to the streets in a place where they know no one and have nothing. "Without a support network, they have no choice but to come prostitutes."

The government, as described in the cables, has turned a blind eye to the issue of women's rights, especially sexual assault and human trafficking: "Rape is a generalized problem in Mauritania that receives no government attention"; "The Mauritanian government does not recognize trafficking as a problem."

To read more about this cable, you can read the article here:

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