AFP releases images of Syrian sex slave traffic ring bust

Published April 22nd, 2016 - 07:24 GMT

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Lebanon security forces recently crushed the country's largest known sex trafficking ring, rescuing 75 women, mostly Syrian nationals who had been tortured both physically and psychologically. The women were lured to Lebanon with the promise of lucrative jobs, smuggled out of Syria, then locked inside two hotels in a notorious red-light district, some for as long as eight years. The traffickers were earning an estimated $1 million a month. 

AFP (Agence France-Presse) just released a set of pictures taken at the scene, shared here. Take a glimpse into a fresh hell in the fallout of war. (All images from AFP)

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The women were held in the Chez Maurice Hotel in the coastal town of Jounieh, north of Beirut. It was one of two hotels the Maameltein 'red light' district used by sex traffickers as brothels. They had been raped and beaten, while some showed signs of 'mutilation', according to a statement from the Internal Security Forces (ISF).
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Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9The women were held in the Chez Maurice Hotel in the coastal town of Jounieh, north of Beirut. It was one of two hotels the Maameltein "red light" district used by sex traffickers as brothels. They had been raped and beaten, while some showed signs of "mutilation", according to a statement from the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

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A court order hangs with red wax on the main door of the hotel. The iron-gated doors and blacked-out windows keep the rooms where the women were kept dark at all hours of the day. One 26-year-old was trapped inside for eight years, forced to have sex with 15 to 20 men daily, sometimes up to 40 if business was brisk.
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Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9A court order hangs with red wax on the main door of the hotel. The iron-gated doors and blacked-out windows keep the rooms where the women were kept dark at all hours of the day. One 26-year-old was trapped inside for eight years, forced to have sex with 15 to 20 men daily, sometimes up to 40 if business was brisk.

Enlarge
Traffickers lured vulnerable young women from Syria with the promise of well-paid jobs at Lebanese restaurants and hotels. But when the women crossed the border, they were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution. Many were tortured, all abused - until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels in late March.
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Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9Traffickers lured vulnerable young women from Syria with the promise of well-paid jobs at Lebanese restaurants and hotels. But when the women crossed the border, they were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution. Many were tortured, all abused - until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels in late March.

Enlarge
Guards would bring in food; the women only left the hotel for abortions. On March 25, four women slipped past the guards and hopped on a minibus heading to south Beirut. One told the driver their story, and he called the police. The women were given shelter, and police began monitoring the hotels. They stormed the buildings in early April.
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Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9Guards would bring in food; the women only left the hotel for abortions. On March 25, four women slipped past the guards and hopped on a minibus heading to south Beirut. One told the driver their story, and he called the police. The women were given shelter, and police began monitoring the hotels. They stormed the buildings in early April.

Enlarge
Security forces arrested eight guards and set at least 75 women free. They also arrested a doctor and nurse connected to the case. The doctor admitted to performing nearly 200 abortions for the women. A security source also said that 'an 8-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women' was found during the raid.
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Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9Security forces arrested eight guards and set at least 75 women free. They also arrested a doctor and nurse connected to the case. The doctor admitted to performing nearly 200 abortions for the women. A security source also said that "an 8-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women" was found during the raid.

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Lebanese police spokesman Col. Joseph Msalem told Business Mirror that two ringleaders remain at large. Increasingly, war-ravaged Syrians are becoming victims of sexual exploitation in Lebanon and Jordan, but human trafficking predates the eruption of the Syrian conflict, according to aid organizations.
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Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9Lebanese police spokesman Col. Joseph Msalem told Business Mirror that two ringleaders remain at large. Increasingly, war-ravaged Syrians are becoming victims of sexual exploitation in Lebanon and Jordan, but human trafficking predates the eruption of the Syrian conflict, according to aid organizations.

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Police officers in the Mount Lebanon region north of Beirut consider the group behind the Chez Maurice operation to have 'made up Lebanon's most dangerous human trafficking network', the ISF statement said.
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Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9Police officers in the Mount Lebanon region north of Beirut consider the group behind the Chez Maurice operation to have "made up Lebanon's most dangerous human trafficking network", the ISF statement said.

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One of the arrested gang leaders turned out to be a former officer in Syria's infamous air force intelligence service. Security sources say the man - identified as 'I.R.' - fled to Lebanon after his operation was broken up, reinventing himself as the manager of two of Lebanon's most notorious brothels, Chez Maurice and Silver.
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Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9One of the arrested gang leaders turned out to be a former officer in Syria's infamous air force intelligence service. Security sources say the man - identified as "I.R." - fled to Lebanon after his operation was broken up, reinventing himself as the manager of two of Lebanon's most notorious brothels, Chez Maurice and Silver.

Enlarge
Despite its reputation as one of the least conservative countries in the Arab world, prostitution is illegal in Lebanon, but enforcement has been lax. This case is considered the tiny nation's worst sex trafficking scandal and is raising questions about who might have enabled and protected such a wide network to thrive.
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Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9Despite its reputation as one of the least conservative countries in the Arab world, prostitution is illegal in Lebanon, but enforcement has been lax. This case is considered the tiny nation's worst sex trafficking scandal and is raising questions about who might have enabled and protected such a wide network to thrive.

Enlarge

1

The women were held in the Chez Maurice Hotel in the coastal town of Jounieh, north of Beirut. It was one of two hotels the Maameltein 'red light' district used by sex traffickers as brothels. They had been raped and beaten, while some showed signs of 'mutilation', according to a statement from the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

Image 1 of 9The women were held in the Chez Maurice Hotel in the coastal town of Jounieh, north of Beirut. It was one of two hotels the Maameltein "red light" district used by sex traffickers as brothels. They had been raped and beaten, while some showed signs of "mutilation", according to a statement from the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

2

A court order hangs with red wax on the main door of the hotel. The iron-gated doors and blacked-out windows keep the rooms where the women were kept dark at all hours of the day. One 26-year-old was trapped inside for eight years, forced to have sex with 15 to 20 men daily, sometimes up to 40 if business was brisk.

Image 2 of 9A court order hangs with red wax on the main door of the hotel. The iron-gated doors and blacked-out windows keep the rooms where the women were kept dark at all hours of the day. One 26-year-old was trapped inside for eight years, forced to have sex with 15 to 20 men daily, sometimes up to 40 if business was brisk.

3

Traffickers lured vulnerable young women from Syria with the promise of well-paid jobs at Lebanese restaurants and hotels. But when the women crossed the border, they were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution. Many were tortured, all abused - until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels in late March.

Image 3 of 9Traffickers lured vulnerable young women from Syria with the promise of well-paid jobs at Lebanese restaurants and hotels. But when the women crossed the border, they were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution. Many were tortured, all abused - until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels in late March.

4

Guards would bring in food; the women only left the hotel for abortions. On March 25, four women slipped past the guards and hopped on a minibus heading to south Beirut. One told the driver their story, and he called the police. The women were given shelter, and police began monitoring the hotels. They stormed the buildings in early April.

Image 4 of 9Guards would bring in food; the women only left the hotel for abortions. On March 25, four women slipped past the guards and hopped on a minibus heading to south Beirut. One told the driver their story, and he called the police. The women were given shelter, and police began monitoring the hotels. They stormed the buildings in early April.

5

Security forces arrested eight guards and set at least 75 women free. They also arrested a doctor and nurse connected to the case. The doctor admitted to performing nearly 200 abortions for the women. A security source also said that 'an 8-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women' was found during the raid.

Image 5 of 9Security forces arrested eight guards and set at least 75 women free. They also arrested a doctor and nurse connected to the case. The doctor admitted to performing nearly 200 abortions for the women. A security source also said that "an 8-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women" was found during the raid.

6

Lebanese police spokesman Col. Joseph Msalem told Business Mirror that two ringleaders remain at large. Increasingly, war-ravaged Syrians are becoming victims of sexual exploitation in Lebanon and Jordan, but human trafficking predates the eruption of the Syrian conflict, according to aid organizations.

Image 6 of 9Lebanese police spokesman Col. Joseph Msalem told Business Mirror that two ringleaders remain at large. Increasingly, war-ravaged Syrians are becoming victims of sexual exploitation in Lebanon and Jordan, but human trafficking predates the eruption of the Syrian conflict, according to aid organizations.

7

Police officers in the Mount Lebanon region north of Beirut consider the group behind the Chez Maurice operation to have 'made up Lebanon's most dangerous human trafficking network', the ISF statement said.

Image 7 of 9Police officers in the Mount Lebanon region north of Beirut consider the group behind the Chez Maurice operation to have "made up Lebanon's most dangerous human trafficking network", the ISF statement said.

8

One of the arrested gang leaders turned out to be a former officer in Syria's infamous air force intelligence service. Security sources say the man - identified as 'I.R.' - fled to Lebanon after his operation was broken up, reinventing himself as the manager of two of Lebanon's most notorious brothels, Chez Maurice and Silver.

Image 8 of 9One of the arrested gang leaders turned out to be a former officer in Syria's infamous air force intelligence service. Security sources say the man - identified as "I.R." - fled to Lebanon after his operation was broken up, reinventing himself as the manager of two of Lebanon's most notorious brothels, Chez Maurice and Silver.

9

Despite its reputation as one of the least conservative countries in the Arab world, prostitution is illegal in Lebanon, but enforcement has been lax. This case is considered the tiny nation's worst sex trafficking scandal and is raising questions about who might have enabled and protected such a wide network to thrive.

Image 9 of 9Despite its reputation as one of the least conservative countries in the Arab world, prostitution is illegal in Lebanon, but enforcement has been lax. This case is considered the tiny nation's worst sex trafficking scandal and is raising questions about who might have enabled and protected such a wide network to thrive.

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