Iraqi women refugees: surviving in Syria

Iraqi women refugees: surviving in Syria. As the months turn into years, more and more women refugees in Damascus are becoming vulnerable to the human trafficking networks.

Jane Gabriel
4 December 2008
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Ekhlas Fadem Ali is widowed with two small daughters. She was fortunate to find a place in the shelter run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd when she first arrived in Syria.

There are believed to be more than three million Iraqi refugees living in Syria: initially allowed in without restriction and treated as guests, they are finding it harder to survive as months turn into years. For the women refugees, often alone or widowed with children, poverty is driving increasing numbers to earn a living through prostitution and ‘muta’ marriages – ‘temporary marriages of pleasure’. Jane Gabriel has been in Damascus to meet Iraqi women refugees and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who are providing shelter and support.

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