Egyptian Children's Rights Group: Underage Girls Are Summer Rentals for Gulf Arabs

(Inter Press Service) Cam McGrath - Each summer, wealthy male tourists from Gulf Arab states flock to Egypt from the Arabian Peninsula. In El Hawamdia, a poor town 20 km. south of Cairo, they are easy to spot in their luxury cars and SUVs. Egyptian fixers run alongside their vehicles, offering short-term flats and the town's most sought-after commodity - underage girls. Each year, in impoverished rural communities across Egypt, thousands of girls between the ages of 11 and 18 are sold by their parents to wealthy, much older Gulf Arab men under the pretext of marriage. The sham nuptials may last from a couple of hours to years, depending on the arrangement. "It's a form of child prostitution in the guise of marriage," said Azza El-Ashmawy, director of the Child Anti-Trafficking Unit at the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM). The girl is returned to her family when the marriage ends, usually to be married off again. "Some girls have been married 60 times by the time they turn 18," says El-Ashmawy. A NCCM-commissioned survey of 2,000 families in three towns near Cairo found that 75% knew girls involved in the trade, and most believed the number of marriages was increasing. The 2009 survey indicated that 81% of the "spouses" were from Saudi Arabia, 10% from the UAE, and 4% from Kuwait.

2013-09-13 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive