HEADLINES

YEMEN: Saudis Number One Sex Offenders Prey On Impoverished Children

By Alistair Reign, March 3, 2017. Alistair Reign News Blog.

According to a recent U.S. Human Rights Report, Yemeni children were subjected to sex trafficking within the country and in Saudi Arabia. Girls as young as 15 years old were exploited for commercial sex in hotels and clubs in Governorates of Sana’a, Aden, and Taiz, before the Saudi attacks began in 2015.

According to a recent U.S. Human Rights Report, Yemeni children were subjected to sex trafficking within the country and in Saudi Arabia. Girls as young as 15 years old were exploited for commercial sex in hotels and clubs in Governorates of Sana’a, Aden, and Taiz, before the Saudi attacks began in 2015.

Prior to the conflict, most child sex tourists in Yemen were from Saudi Arabia, with a smaller number originating from other Gulf nations, including the United Arab Emirates.

Some Saudi men used legally contracted “temporary marriages” for the purpose of sexually exploiting Yemeni girls – some reportedly as young as 10 years old, and some of whom were later abandoned on the streets of Saudi Arabia.

Somali prostitutes gather in a slum house in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden February 7, 2010. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Somali prostitutes gather in a slum house in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, February 7, 2010. (REUTERS/ Khaled Abdullah).

Civil society organizations reported that, as a result of the dire economic situation in Yemen, particularly in the north, sex trafficking of Yemeni children increased over the past several years. In addition, some sources reported the practice of chattel slavery in which human beings are traded as property continues in Yemen.

While no official statistics exist detailing this practice, a 2014 study by a human rights organization documented 190 cases of slavery in three directorates of Hajjah governorate. Sources report there could be several hundred other men, women, and children sold or inherited as slaves in al-Hodeida and al-Mahwit governorates.

Prior to its departure, the Yemeni government and international NGOs estimated there were approximately 1.7 million child laborers under the age of 14 in Yemen, some of whom are subjected to forced labor. Since the escalation of armed conflict in March 2015, human rights organizations reported all parties to the conflict have increased their use of child soldiers.

Yemeni and Saudi gangs transported African children to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers abused and abandoned in Yemen some refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa who voluntarily transited Yemen en route to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. In past years, multiple NGOs reported criminal smuggling groups had built a large number of “camps” near the Yemeni-Saudi border city of Haradh, where migrants hoping to reach Saudi Arabia were held for extortion and ransom.

Yemeni and Saudi gangs transported African children to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers abused and abandoned in Yemen some refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa who voluntarily transited Yemen en route to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. In past years, multiple NGOs reported criminal smuggling groups had built a large number of “camps” near the Yemeni-Saudi border city of Haradh, where migrants hoping to reach Saudi Arabia were held for extortion and ransom.

During the previous reporting period, the government enacted a regulation requiring MOI approval for Yemenis to marry foreigners, in an effort to reduce sex tourism among foreigners, particularly Saudis and Emiratis who “temporarily” married young Yemeni women; however, they often did this in exchange for bribes, and officials continued to provide such approval.

Further, the government (under Hadi) did not provide anti-trafficking training to its diplomatic personnel and did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, forced labor, or address the problem of sex tourism more broadly. In addition, it did not provide anti-trafficking training to troops prior to their deployment abroad as part of international peacekeeping missions. Yemen is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. [01]


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