Human trafficking occurs throughout the world but has become increasingly more prevalent in the country of Iraq due to the instability produced by the Iraq War. Many Iraqi women and girls are widowed or orphaned by wartime casualties. Currently, more than 50,000 Iraqi women have fled to Jordan and Syria and are trapped in sexual servitude with no possibility of escape. Unable to support themselves or their households due to new government restrictions, thousands of Iraqi women have been preyed on by sex traffickers taking advantage of this chaotic environment. In June 2010 the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TiP Report) which laid out a picture of human trafficking across the globe and reaffirmed the US’s commitment to ending this scourge.
These trafficked women have received scant attention from American policymakers who have the power to alleviate these women’s suffering and condemn the countries that allow it to flourish. The US holds the solution: It can protect these vulnerable women by making Iraqi trafficked women a priority resettlement group and putting greater pressure on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to follow suit. Doing this would finally provide Iraqi trafficking victims with a resettlement option that is fast and effective enough to actually help them.
“Trafficking of Iraqi Women Rampant Despite U.S. Commitment to End It,” Sebastion Swett and Cameron Webster, Alternet, August 25, 2010. http://www.alternet.org/news/147962/trafficking_of_iraqi_women_rampant_despite_u.s._commitment_to_end_it
Student Researcher: Allison Holt, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University