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Biggest Women's Trafficker arrested in Baghdad


After threatening and terrorizing us

Women of OWFI

August 8 2012

Eman Dakhiliya (female) was finally arrested in the late hours of Sunday night September 2\3 with the company of other traffickers and their serving pimps by an Iraqi security troop in central Baghdad. Eman's many houses in Al Battaween, Karrada, and Palestine street in central Baghdad are served by Amar Zaytuna’s gang who kidnap girls and force them to work in Eman’s brothels; otherwise they kill them or at least damage their faces beyond recognition. Tens of prostituted women and girls live in inhumane conditions, under continuous threat of beatings, but with abundance of alcohol, drugs and hallucination pills.

The local police station of Al Saadoun cooperated with Eman since 2007. The police men who were not of assistance were transferred right away, as Eman has earned her title “Dakhiliya” which comes after the Ministry of Interior.

Trafficker of Human Organs too: selling human organs was complementary to her business of trafficking and running brothels. The women who could not pay cash for their debts usually could pay with their organs instead. It was a surprise for us also to believe why a prostituted woman would have debts. The traffickers always had ways of trapping the girls and women into addiction and other needs – which created another source of fear and pressure for them.

Women activists (of OWFI) working against trafficking: Eman was new in the industry when OWFI published a fact-finding report on Trafficking and Prostitution in Iraq based on documentation of 2008. We did not dare to present the study to the government as we were treated like “traitors” to the government while revealing issues of trafficking to the international community. Many other traffickers were listed in that study which was made public in 2010. The others are still free to practice and exploit their victims.

Eman revealed as trafficker in our Al Mousawat newspaper issue 17 – page 6 in October 2010 about Eman’s houses, gangsters, kidnappers and how much she charges per sale of a girl locally and internationally. The column was written after interviewing the victims.

Serious threats against OWFI: In the second week of October 2010, Eman Dakhiliya sent us her pimps Ammar Zaytuna and Abou Hamra to threaten the column-writer Wissam Yousef and OWFI vice president Dalal Al Rubaie to stay away from their business, otherwise they send us “behind the sun”. She also threatened to press charges against OWFI for publishing lies- Eman felt strong to use all legal procedures against us. Dalal Al Rubaie, OWFI v.p. immediately addressed a letter to the Minister of Interior Mr. Bolani about the threats. He did not care to respond.

OWFI activist announcing \ challenging in a press conference in August 6th : In a recent press conference which the Ministry of Interior held regarding human trafficking, OWFI activist Dalal announced in front of all attending officials from MOI and Society Police that the traffickers names and location are known; and that an arrest campaign should be held against Eman Dakhiliya instead of talking and giving empty promises in a conference.

Finally ... the arrest: On the night of September 2\3, a special security force ambushed Eman Dakhliya with her gang and all were taken; breaking one of the most cruel trafficking rings in Baghdad.

Although she was not the only trafficker in Baghdad, her business thrived fast as she started out from the poorest neighborhood of Baghdad - Al Battaween - where the most vulnerable homeless young females end up tired, hungry and hopeless. A recent UN study counts Iraqi orphans of war at 5 million. If half of those are females, and half these females are teenagers, at least one million Iraqi female teenagers are vulnerable to the same destiny of being bought and sold into the sex industry of Eman Dakhiliya and others, while Iraq lies on one of the biggest reservoirs of oil in the world.

Background on Anti-trafficking Laws in Iraq: After 9 years of campaigning against trafficking of women in Iraq, we are pleased to announce that the government has finally passed a law that includes acceptable standards of protecting victims of trafficking. Nevertheless, application of the most important measures in the law are still pending.

Note: the Iraqi government does not grant any identification papers to women and girls who were trafficked which keeps them and their children as illegal and runaways all their lives with no medical or educational service.

We in OWFI have sheltered and taken care of them in the last years, but your help and support is most needed to empower those who were marginalized, impoverished and broken by the war on Iraq.

Evan Darraji / Media dept. of OWFI (organization of women's freedom in Iraq)
via Yanar Mohammed the president
September 8th 2012

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Sharontina's picture

Great lady


Doing great in this risky business. But at the end of the day you are by the side of the women in need, in grave danger and threat to survive.

You need a brave heart to write too. God be with you, go on.


Merlin Sharontina

Mukut's picture

Good news

this is definitely something to cheer about.

Mukut Ray

evan.darraji's picture

Thank you

thank you so much ladies

lobna sedky's picture

Something difficult and tough

Something difficult and tough what is happening to these women, in all the crises of them located biggest injustice are women and children.

evan.darraji's picture

everything against women

Yes Dear Lobna, they exploit the conditions to take advantage of women in all areas, whether trafficking or sell organs or drugs, gangs and others.
All this in addition to the rebuke by the community

Cali gal Michelle's picture

hidden terrorism...


I find myself lost for words for once to describe your story. Human Trafficking has been going on for so many decades, which governments and peoples are either ignorant about or do not want to truly see and respond. Every time my government highlights and fights for oil and financially popular topics, it makes me angry because human justice, health, safety, and even basic rights are the obvious priority here. Your story reinforces the fact that those who fight for justice put themselves and their lives at risk for harm and death. Every victory is a reason to celebrate. When one girl, or boy for that matter, is rescued; when a vicious ring is broken; when someone such as you steps forward, is a reason to celebrate.

But it doesn't end there, as you very well know. We all need to step up in whatever form that takes. To support you on the front lines, to continue to shed light on human trafficking so that the darkness does not consume these innocent girls and women. To have a place for them to heal and find hope, to find their true place in their towns, cities, society.

I am truly blown away each time I have met or heard from a woman who has been able to escape the horrific world of trafficking. The hope and courage and resilience I have seen from them is astounding. Organizations such as Gary Haugen's International Justice Mission brought this incredible and unimaginable injustice into my vision, for which I am grateful. Thank you to you, dear sister, and to people like Gary who continue this work in our world.

Please let us know what specific steps we can take to support you and others in every area of this issue of justice.

With Hope.

Let us Hope together-
aka: Cali gal


Greengirl's picture

Great Work Evan!

I was actually taken aback by the reality of the really bad situation of human trafficking in Iraq! To think that a woman could perpetuate and sustain such levels of inhumanity against her fellow women who could pass for her sisters, cousins, daughters, friends, in-laws.................I could go on and on.

The situation is quite bizarre and I am really shocked to my wit's end! Before now, I thought my dear country had one of the worst situation of human trafficking in the world.

I hope Eman and her likes are stopped in their tracks for good! Much hope too for women's empowerment in Iraq.

Your courage is applauded!

Best wishes,


evan.darraji's picture

many appreciate

I really don't know what to say..
thank you for your words of support and encouragement
we will keep fighting for women's freedom for good

please if you want you can take a look to our organization web. via this link

best regards

LauraB's picture



With such brilliance WorldPulse presents a forum for you to tell this story and for me to personally respond. It's a very distinct experience from reading your piece in a newspaper or magazine. There's really quite a lot of power in this forum.

And I am thrilled to read that "one of the most cruel trafficking rings in Baghdad" has been broken up. You have such smarts and guts to tell this harrowing story.



Heidi's picture

Thank you

Dear Evan,
Thank you for the work you are doing for the women in Iraq. Reading about such horrific acts makes my heart ache but seeing that women like yourself are working towards progress provides such a huge amount of hope that we really can begin to take care of one another.

How does your organization assist previously trafficked women and girls with illegal status? I saw on your website that you have partner locations in England and Canada as well?

You are an inspiration, best wishes moving forward!

evan.darraji's picture

Thank you Ladies

thank so much for interesting & couraging words
our organization deal with Women who are the victims of violence and backward religious traditions in Iraq, and are in desperate need of shelter and protection from random acts of aggression. These women are subject to continuous threat of being:
• killed by their husbands or male relatives (honor killings)
• Burnt or mutilated for suspicion of shameful acts
• publicly executed or shot by the police
• kidnapped and secretly murdered
• in state of despair and see no other way than to commit suicide

Consequently, millions of women undergo sexual discrimination encouraged by Islamist activists and Saddam’s regime that urge all “God Loving” men to oppress their women so as to abide by an Islamic submissive lifestyle that was created hundreds of years ago. This situation has been introduced and enhanced in the last decade, and does not allow women basic standards of human dignity. Other Reasons that result in the deterioration of social status of women in Iraq:
• Hundreds of thousands of women were widowed by consecutive wars, and genocide executed by Saddam’s army
• Economic sanctions spread out poverty to unthinkable extents where every widow finds herself responsible of a family with no sort of support or social insurance
• Recent years changes in civil laws so as to allow honor killings and referral to backward and barbaric tribal law
• Absence of supremacy of law, allowing Islamist misogynist practices which the ruling Baath party chose to apply by committing mass killings on women.

evan.darraji's picture

What your support can do?

Strengthen international solidarity for the support of women’s movement in Iraq in their struggle against Islamist influenced male violence.
Provide the women’s shelter with financial support necessary for the survival of desperate women.
Boost Women’s aspirations in gaining freedom and equality with their fellow men. We seek the support and cooperation of all organizations that are involved in developing women’s status worldwide. For any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us on the addresses written below.

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq
Iraq -Baghdad – Al Sa'adoon / Al Za'eem St. / Near Al Sa'adoon special hospital
Phone: 00964 7704561170 – 00964 7902425230

Marija011's picture

Light at the end of the tunnel

Dear Evan,

Thank you very much for sharing this story. Your personal courage and the courage of your colleagues from Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq is truly inspirational!

I wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am coming from former Yugoslavia where we recently had wars, and where trafficking, prostitution, and organ harvesting were largely perceived as "facts of life," something that is as "normal" as extreme poverty, or lack of any personal freedom. Our advocates were also threatened and publicly shamed and denounced as "liars," but at the end of the day the truth prevailed.

It is not always easy, and things are not happening over night. But changes will happen. Both in the legislation and in the attitudes of the people. And most importantly- in the lives of Iraqi women. I was once on that same train, and I can promise you - there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Please stay strong, and share as much as you can. Transparency is one of the best ways to bring changes and to stay safe.

With admiration and gratitude,

Dear Evan and the Women in Iraq,

THANK YOU for having the courage and commitment to give voice and testimony of the atrocities against women and girls in your country to the world court of humanity. Women Rights is Human Rights and we must END the VIOLENCE against women & girls.

We stand alongside you to advocate for social justice and freedom for all women and girls to live without the threat of violence, prostitution and enslavement. Your courage and determination gives HOPE and LIFE to many girls and women who live in fear. Uniting women and nations around the world to stand strong and pass legislation to stop the human trafficking of women and violence as a human rights violation.

Please stay strong, continue to give voice and call out the perpetrators - the world is watching and must take action to stop the violence. Together we are stronger and you are not alone!

You are loved immensely and we CARE!

With admiration and gratitude,


With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

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