Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Verdict Unveils the Largest Human Trafficking and Prostitution Network in Lebanon | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Syrian woman stands outside her tent at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the eastern Lebanese city of Baalbek. AFP Photo

Beirut-Rumored stories told about a wide-spread under network for prostitution and human trafficking in Lebanon, were nothing but a sample of the heinous scandal recently exposed on crimes committed by its members.

The Lebanese judiciary authority’s decision reveals the extent of danger and threatening nature imposed by the crimes committed by the apprehended under-radar society. The dominance practiced by the network spreads intertwiningly between Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. So far, it has recorded a jaw-dropping kidnap of 75 girls, a majority of which hold the Syrian nationality, forcing them into the sex trade.

The girls were captured, violently tortured and coerced into whoredom.

The Lebanese judiciary authorities accused 22 Lebanese figures and a Syrian man for establishing the network which took advantage of the kidnapped girls. The gang is being led by a wanted Syrian fugitive, Imad Rihawi, and monopolizes a network which deals with human trafficking, prostitution and the illegal abortion for girls who conceive after forced sexual conduct. The convicts were charged with hard labor and life in prison.

The conjectural verdict issued by the judiciary in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, by judge Peter Germanos uncovered all leading evidence to the crime, which came after first lieutenant Samer Sulaiman made notice of a group of girls who had fled to Beirut’s suburbs from Jounieh, after having escaped captivity. The girls were being held in one of the city’s night clubs.

The escape girls were brutally beaten and forced into intercourse against their will.

After examinations taking place, the girls’ claims of brutal treatment and kidnap were verified. According to investigations, the girls were being held at two

nightclubs “chez Morris” and “Silver .B.”, owned and managed by Imad Rihawi, and 22 others took responsibility of guarding the entrances alongside female accomplices who took upon themselves to monitor the inner activities of the nightclub and bring girls illegally from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Some of the girls had joined the group after being promised to receive legal posts as soon as they would arrive to the clubs; however, realized the haunting reality that they were being kidnapped and tossed into a burning hell upon their arrival.

The gang members had stripped them of their identification documents, employing them as they please. The girls were forced into having unprotected sex with customers, and should any of them show rejection or the slightest hint of protest they would be whipped into compliance by gang members.

Protesting girls would be brutally beaten in front of their peers as an example given on what awaits those who wish to disobey. “A trip to hell,” one of the girls testified in reminisce of the horror.

The judge’s verdict mentioned information on the detailed professional plan of arrest employed by the police department under the supervision of the D.A. (District Attorney) Judge Claud Karam. The plot successfully shut down the whole network, and managed to apprehend all members, noting that a number of them were heavily armed.