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members vulnerable to "abuse during household raids and search operations by armed groups."80
Syrian parents are also often tricked into giving their daughters away in the hopes that they will
escape the country, but instead are almost always sold into sex slavery by traffickers.81
Some Syrian girls even volunteer themselves to be sold into arranged marriages, in the
hopes that the money will benefit their family and ensure their protection.82 One such individual
is Fatima, a fifteen-year-old Syrian refugee, who entered her first marriage at the age of
fourteen.83 Her family fled to Jordan in 2013 because of the Syrian war, and their financial
problems grew increasingly overwhelming.84 Fatima entered into a marriage agreement at the
behest of a Saudi Arabian businessman more than thirty years older.85 He was 46 years old and
already had two wives, however, he sought after Fatima due to her young age and refugee
status.86 Fatima married him, because she "felt like a burden" to her parents; in Syria, Fatima
once had dreamed of marrying a "handsome, sweet young man like the ones […] in Hollywood
movies," after finishing her education.87 However, she dropped out of school when she was
twelve years old, because her family began fleeing from city to city at that time.88 Fatima's first
husband divorced her after only three months; she next married a 34-year-old man whom had
already had five children with his first wife, and had previously married and divorced another
woman.89 They consummated their marriage, but after just one night, Fatima's second husband
called her father and requested a divorce.90 A month later, Fatima discovered she was pregnant;
she decided to have an abortion by taking illegal pills.91 While her father treats her well, Fatima's
mother has been acting strangely to her ever since, and sometimes snaps at her for no reason.92
Fatima stated that she "feels so alone and depressed, like my life is over…. And I never want to
get married ever again, that's for sure."93 While Fatima's experience is far from happy, many
Syrian girls are not as lucky, and often are sold by their husbands into sex slavery.94
C. ISIL's Role in Syrian Minor Sex Trafficking
ISIL originated in Iraq as an affiliate of the Al-Qaida movement, and has been an active
force in the Syrian conflict since 2013.95 Multiple sources report that ISIL continues to force
local Syrian girls and women in ISIL-controlled areas into marriages with its fighters.96 ISIL has
also enslaved "thousands of women, primarily younger women and also children, from the
81 Bulut, supra note 5; Johnson et al., supra note 3.
82 Brenda Stoter, Financial burden, risk of violence pressure Syrian girls to marry, AL-MONITOR (March 17, 2015),
87 Stoter, supra note 82.
92 Stoter, supra note 82.
94 Bulut, supra note 5; Johnson et al., supra note 3.
95 Gill, supra note 14, at 359.
96 Davaine, supra note 7.