A report from the State Department indicates that human trafficking is on the rise in Egypt, where the Islamist Muhammad Morsi was recently elected president.
Dubbed "summer marriages," the practice involves poor Egyptian families effectively selling their young daughters to wealthy tourists from Gulf countries for a certain period of time, according to the report.
After the union expires, the men return home and usually fail to acknowledge that the women-- and any resulting offspring-- even exist. If they do acknowledge their former brides, it is often only to enlist them into domestic servitude back in the Gulf, reports indicate.
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The Independent elaborates:
The marriages are [organized] by intermediaries who link wealthy men, mainly from Saudi Arabia, with poor families with young daughters, for commission. The foreign "husbands" give families money and presents akin to a dowry, with the "bride price" ranging between the equivalent of £320 and £3.200.
...The report found that children involved in the temporary marriages suffer both sexual servitude and forced labour as servants to their "husbands." [Emphasis added]
Though there are laws on the books intended to prevent such abhorrent exploitation, the report states that "the government of Egypt does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking," though it is reportedly making an effort to do so.
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The State Department report continues:
However, the government did not proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups... The government also did not report any significant efforts to address forced child labor in domestic servitude and forced domestic labor of female migrant workers. Moreover, Egypt failed to investigate and prosecute government officials who were complicit in trafficking offenses, particularly the forced labor of domestic workers in their private residences. The government’s security forces continued a practice of shooting foreign migrants in the Sinai, including possible trafficking victims. [Emphasis added]
Al-Arabiya explains the fate of many of the young "brides":
In some cases the men take the Egyptian girls back to their home country to work as maids for their first wives. But even the girls who stay in Egypt do not fare much better since they often become ostracized by society and find it difficult to re-marry in the traditional way, particularly if the “summer marriage” resulted in a child.
Many of the young women end up in a cycle of temporary marriages with Gulf tourists, and others are targeted by Egyptian men who marry them in order to force them into prostitution.
Many abandon the child out of shame, either to orphanages or leaving them to join the hundreds of thousands of street children that already exist in Egypt. [Emphasis added]
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been meeting with members of the Egyptian government over the weekend and, according to the Associated Press, said that the United States will do everything it can to "support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt."
She also reiterated President Obama's commitment to give hundreds of millions to the country in debt relief, private investment capital and job creation funds.
Reports also indicate that Clinton's visit resulted in large protests from Egyptians.
“If you like the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood], take them with you!” one sign read. Another implored: "America: Support Liberty Not Theocracy."
(H/T: Jihad Watch)