A new report has revealed that human trafficking in Iraq has prospered since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, AlKhaleejonline.com reported on Sunday. The report was prepared by the Iraqi Observatory for Victims of Human Trafficking (IOVHT).
According to the independent IOVHT, at least 27 human trafficking networks have been documented, in addition to six related kinds of violations in Baghdad and other Iraqi governorates. The report found that most of the human trafficking networks regard Iraqi Kurdistan as a safe haven for their crimes. It also showed that the networks are using modern techniques to hunt their victims, including social media, concentrating on prostitution, the harvesting of human body parts and begging.
One police director with 30 years' service in Iraq before he was sacked for his efforts to fight human trafficking, told AlKhaleejonline.com that politicians have been involved in trafficking networks in the country. "The problem started in 2005, when Al-Mahdi militias controlled Baghdad and closed bars, nightclubs and brothels, and the capital was turned into a city like those controlled by Daesh," he claimed. The militias were the first to be formed by Shias after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The former police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that bars, nightclubs and brothels were organised during the Saddam era, but after the collapse of the regime they depended on the militias for protection. He claimed that one of the most dominant militias in the country, affiliated to a dominant religious party, has been protecting such places for years, and making more money than the country's income from oil in the process.