29 July 2016
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday that Syrian women and girls living in Lebanon are at risk of sex trafficking due to weaknesses and lack of coordination in the Lebanese government.
It called on the Lebanese government to enforce the anti-trafficking law more effectively, remove obstacles to reporting trafficking, improve police coordination, and provide support to trafficking survivors.
“Syrian woman appear to be at particular risk of trafficking into forced prostitution and sexual exploitation in Lebanon.
“A series of raids in Lebanon in 2015 and 2016 found many Syrian women being held against their will and exploited,” HRW said.
It said that it interviewed two victims who said that traffickers lured them from war-torn Syria with promises of marriage or jobs.
It said that instead, they forced the women into prostitution in a brothel in Lebanon’s Ma’ameltein red-light district.
“Trafficking into forced prostitution is a grave crime, and Lebanon should continue to step up its response,” Skye Wheeler, women’s rights researcher at HRW said.
The HRW report said Lebanese authorities had taken some important steps to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, including increasing number of prosecutions.
It said that most judges still “lacked understanding of the crime and knowledge of best practices to handle trafficking cases appropriately … and gave convicted traffickers weak sentences, however.”
Lebanon hosts around 1.2 million Syrians who fled civil war in their home country.