Prostitution in Iraq

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Prostitution: A Modern Form of Slavery for Iraqi Women

Fall 2011

Abstract

On March 19th 2003, the Western world turned against Iraq. Iraq was one of the oldest civilizations in the world and its history was written in blood. Iraq was occupied by the US and the British troops who started this invasion to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Many other countries, as well, were in favor of this occupation. At the beginning, Iraqi citizens were happy to see the defeat of their grandiose dictator Saddam; however, when things started getting serious, Iraqi citizens realized that the US army is nothing but a threat to them. The invasion led to some of the problems that I will expose in this paper. One of the problems that already was there is “prostitution”. This problem was never a new phenomenon to Iraq; however it increased dramatically during the Saddam Hussein Era, American invasion, and post war period. Since the scale has increased, it is mandatory that the U.S and Iraqi government find a solution to end this problem and prevent women from getting into this business.

Prostitution: A Modern Form of Slavery for Iraqi Women

Women in the Iraqi society suffered many issues since Saddam ruled the country, and when America entered their country things got worse. One of the main problems that they faced was the “Gender Barrier” issue. Gender barriers caused problems to women through different aspects; such as, salaries drop down and unemployment, leading to prostitution. Moreover, utilities limitation was also one of the problems during the war period. One might suspect that women in Iraq are affected by the problems more than men in general. These problems have occurred since the beginning. As one of the women said in Nimo’s chapter: “when an Iraqi comes to rule, after two years he turns on us – he becomes a dragon” (as cited in Enloe, 2010, p.21).

The gender barrier particularly in employment led to the rising level of prostitution. According to the writer Sarah Husain (2006), “One of the impacts of war and sanctions has been a rapid increase in prostitution in Iraq” (Husain, 2006, p.36). The problem was a result of men thinking that women are not capable of handling higher jobs and positions, or thinking that women are better at home with their kids, or they might take things emotionally rather than practically.

People may wonder why this problem was not solved since the beginning and the answer is whenever things started getting better in Iraq another dictator comes and turns against women. The country has never experienced democracy. Women in Iraq are still working as prostitutes to feed their families; therefore, Sarah Husain claims, “more and more women, as well as children now, are involved in prostitution in order to make a living” (Husain, 2006, p. 36).

Because of these “Gender Barriers”, women are not offered jobs and end up as prostitutes. Many countries involve women in politics and still their country is at the top of the business, then why not Iraq? Discriminating women will lead the country to be biased; and many people will start having constricted thoughts. Moreover, men will look at women as a weak creature; as a consequence they cannot take a decision on their own. Also, men will always look at women as physical commodity that can easily be used. Adding to that, the level of poverty will definitely increase, as women will sit home doing nothing and having no enough money to feed their families. These women already lost their husbands so how will they satisfy the necessities of their children or parents? Is turning into a prostitute will make the Iraqi society look better? Will the reputation of the country sound auspicious? They need support and a back up from their government, UNICEF, or the feminist active parties to retrieve the lost equality. So the question here is how do we stop the discrimination and...
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