ISIS and the exploitation of Human Trafficking

The crisis of human trafficking has existed long before ISIS.  The United Nations reports that, as of 2012, there were 2.4 million victims of trafficking at any given moment in time as part of a $32 billion industry in which over 80% of victims are being exploited as human slaves, and two out of three victims are women.[1]  Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and girls are trafficked across international borders, and additional numbers are trafficked within their own countries.  Many such victims remain unseen, as sex traffickers often operate out of a variety of private and public locations, such as massage parlors, spas and strip clubs.[2]

Although kidnapping, rape, prostitution and physical abuse is illegal in nearly every country, local governments and police forces may participate in sex trafficking rings, which are very lucrative for the organized crime elements that operate them.[3]

The demand for human trafficking makes it an easy element for financing terrorism.  ISIS needs money to finance its terrorism operations, house operatives, wage its guerrilla wars against the governments within the territories in which it operates, and provide social services to the residents of its conquered territories.  Drug and human trafficking provide lucrative financial opportunities for the finance of such operations.  “Human trafficking serves three main purposes for terrorist organizations: generating revenue, providing fighting power and vanquishing the enemy…Trafficking and smuggling are part of the business of terrorism, and constitute one activity in the product mix of terrorist groups.  Terrorists smuggle drugs, arms and people.”[4]  And this is not limited to ISIS.  There are documented cases of other terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, LTTE, the PKK and the Ansar al-Islam terrorist network, engaged in such trafficking activities.[5]

As ISIS terrorizes populations in Syria and Northern Iraq, it has kidnapped many young women and children, and sold them through the use of social media in the Middle East as sex slaves and for forced labor.[6]  They have even codified it as law, so that it is legal to buy, sell and trade sex slaves.  Since sex slaves are either Shiite or non-Muslims (non-believers), they are officially considered not human, and are kept like cattle.[7] [8] The Islamic State has kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women whom they have sold at auction as slaves or given to their soldiers as part of their compensation.[9]

ISIS promises each of its soldiers a job, a house, a wife (sometimes more than one as polygamy is legal), and a family.  For Muslim men, this is very attractive, as premarital sex is not allowed and marriage can be expensive. Because of this, most men don’t get married until their thirties.[10]

Jihadist recruiters are active in most western countries.  Jihadist recruiters for the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Nusra use social media to connect with potential jihadists for financing and soldiering right here in the United States.[11]

What is alarming is that most of the recruits are young people, many of them teenagers.  There are documented cases of teenage girls being lured through social media by the “fantasy” of providing humanitarian aid in Syria who end up as sex slaves for ISIS soldiers. [12]  But many of the human slavery victims are also “kafir,” non-Muslim women, such as Yazidis and even westerners, who are in demand because of their fair skin and hair.[13]

“With the influence of ISIS spreading throughout western Iraq, systematic sexual violence is increasingly used as a tool of terror, coercion and control. Multiple sources report ISIS’s demand for forced marriagescoerced child sex and various forms of sex trafficking. Furthermore, as ISIS seeks to recruit girls and women online, some political analysts warn that ISIS is creating a human trafficking pipeline streaming females from the West into Syria for forced marriage to militant groups.  It is important to note that most media favors reporting on sex trafficking, kidnappings, forced marriages and sexual assaults. As these egregious violations of human dignity continue, forced child begging, organ trafficking and the continuation of migrant labor exploitation are often overlooked.”[14]

Human trafficking was a problem long before the rise of ISIS, but its exploitation by terrorist groups has grown it to endemic proportions.  Local governments and law enforcement agencies must be taken to task to confront this problem instead of being a part of it.


Kenneth Eade is the bestselling, award-winning author of the thriller, “Traffick Stop,” on sale now on Amazon with all royalties devoted to victims of human trafficking.  https://www.amazon.com/Traffick-American-Assassins-Paladine-Political-ebook/dp/B01MXWF90G

[1] UN: 2.4 Million Human Trafficking Victims, US Today, April 4, 2012.

[2][2] Sex Slavery/Trafficking: Frequently Asked Questions, Soroptomist.

[3] Sex Slavery/Trafficking: Frequently Asked Questions, Soroptomist.

[4] Shelley, Louise, ISIS, Boko Haram and the Growing Role of Human Trafficking in 21st Century Terrorism, The Daily Beast, December 26, 2014

[5] Shelley, Louise, ISIS, Boko Haram and the Growing Role of Human Trafficking in 21st Century Terrorism, The Daily Beast, December 26, 2014

[6] Giannageli, Marco, Daesh kidnaps women and children to sell as sex slaves on social media, Express, December 27, 2015

[7] Callimachi, Rukmini, To Maintain Supply of Sex Slaves, ISIS Pushes Birth Control, March 12, 2016, New York Times

 

[8] ISIS Laws on ‘proper’ sex slave treatment revealed, December 29, 2015, RT

[9] Engel, Richard, Inside the Secret Rescue of Yazidi Sex Slaves from ISIS Captors, December 6, 2016, NBC News Storyline

[10] Bloom, Mia, How ISIS is Using Marriage as a Trap, March 2, 2015, Huffington Post

[11] Bardin, Jeff, What it’s like to be recruited by ISIS online, May 22, 2015, Business Insider

[12] Geiger, Gloria, This is How ISIS Uses Social Media to Recruit American Teens, November 20, 2015, Teen Vogue

[13] Sandeman, George, Western Women Wanted: Escaped ISIS sex slave says “blonde, blue-eyed girls are particularly popular amongst jihadis, The Sun, August 13, 2016.

[14] Hankel, Jenni, ISIS: One of the Many Contributions to Trafficking in Iraq and Syria, Human Trafficking Center Blog

Author Interview: Kenneth Eade

The Reading Bud

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Kenneth Eade, author of Traffick Stop.

About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the…

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Paladine (Paladine Political Thriller Series, #1) by Kenneth Eade

My train of thoughts on...

paladine_01The author sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Meet terrorism’s worst enemy

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes an unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero.” Robert Garcia was an unremarkable man, tapped out of a promising military career to become a death squad assassin for the CIA. Retirement was not in the cards for Robert, so he disappeared instead. After he comes out of the cold to answer the call to aid a fellow soldier facing a bum rap, he is thrust back into the spotlight when he is in the wrong place at the wrong time and kills a terrorist, thereby saving dozens of lives. He finds gainful employment in the slaughter of jihadists, which…

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War is Hot, Not Cold: A perspective on the new cold war between the US and Russia

I began writing my latest political thriller, “Russian Holiday,” on a trip to Russia, during the most bizarre election campaign in history between two of the most unpopular candidates ever to win the nomination of a major political party in the United States.  At first, I thought I could make a choice between the two; select the lesser of the two evils; but then the propaganda wheels for the military industrial complex started spinning stories about Russia preparing for nuclear war.  It soon became clear to me that “We came, we saw, he died.”[1] Hilary Clinton’s Russia bashing was a prelude to the workup of a new cold war to justify billions in government contracts for arming Europe and possibly the Ukraine.  This essay is not to be interpreted as slanted “liberal” or “conservative.”  I am just noting what I observed.

After World War II, the United States economy had to shift from a wartime to peacetime economy.  However, that left the defense industry, which had been the driving force behind the wartime economy, out to dry.  They needed an enemy.  Thus, the “cold war” was begun with the Communists as the enemy.  Fast forward to the 21st Century.  No more Soviet Union, no more Communist threat.  Vacillating Donald Trump at first declared NATO obsolete, but then tried to tweet himself out of it.[2]  But Trump was not the first one to declare NATO obsolete.  Putin himself declared in 2014 that NATO was part of the old “bloc” system and had outlived itself.[3]

The real-life setting of this novel in civil war-torn Syria is a perfect example of how “Spy vs. Spy” can be a very dangerous game.  In 2016, the United States Treasury opened a terrorism finance inquiry into a large number of brand new Toyota trucks being used by ISIS.  The U.S. State Department and the British government had both provided the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), a loose group of rebels who had expressed a desire to topple the al-Assad government, with the trucks, which were now being used by Islamic terrorists.[4]

In 2016, in the northern province of Aleppo, different groups fighting the Syrian civil war are vying for the same territory, among them the Free Syrian Army, the U.S.-armed Kurdish YPG, and ISIS.  Free Syrian Army officials have cited a “deepening divide” between themselves and the Kurds, with the Kurds stating they could probably eliminate the FSA in a war.  Many other groups fighting in the area include the Martyrs of Syria Brigade, the Northern Storm Brigade, an Islamist FSA unit, the Islamic Front, which welcomes jihadist fighters, and the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front.[5]  These are not “moderate” rebels and the United States claims.  They are not “friendly” to the United States or its interests.  They are mercenaries, and, in some cases, terrorists.  According to Putin, the very arming of these groups by the US is giving ISIS an economic advantage.[6]

U.S. Special Forces Officer Jack Murphy reported in September 2016 that the U.S. policy of aiding Syrian rebels had the Special Forces training and arming Syrian anti-ISIS forces, while the CIA was maintaining a parallel program to arm anti-Assad insurgents.  Murphy reported that distinguishing between former al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army (supported by the CIA) was impossible, and that, as early as 2013, FSA commanders were defecting to al-Nusra, while still retaining the FSA moniker to maintain access to CIA-provided weaponry.  He also reported among the rebels that U.S. Special Forces and Turkish Special Forces were training, at least 95% of them were either working in terrorist organizations or supporting them.  This would lead credence to Russia’s contentions that the Syrian rebels are no more than terrorists themselves.[7]

Witnesses describe Syrian rebels in Aleppo, including the FSA, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Nour el din Zinki, as terrorists themselves.[8]  In July 2015, Syrian rebels blew up the western gate of the UNESCO protected heritage site, the Citadel of Aleppo with underground explosives.[9]  The U.S.-backed rebels, who are now fighting the Russians in Syria, have blown up the Carlton Hotel and the Palace of Justice in the same manner.  Aleppo itself is almost completely destroyed.[10]

So, it seems not only is the choice of who to support a mess, as it usually has been with interventions in  Afghanistan and Iraq, but the United States and Russia are fighting a proxy war against each other.  There are so many factions fighting for their own individual objectives in the Syrian civil war it is difficult to sort them all out.  What is sure, however, is that Russians were the only ones invited by the legitimate Syrian government.

I don’t condone or support genocide or terrorism.  However, I don’t think regime change is the proper paradigm to follow.  Even conservatives like Ted Cruz recognize the fact that putting Saddam Hussein and Muamar Gaddafi out of power has destabilized the region and led to an increase in terrorism.[11] Call Vladimir Putin a dictator if you may, but his idea of stabilizing the war and then calling for free, monitored elections seems saner to me than arming and training different factions of rebel groups and then having to fight the same groups you have armed with American lives.

 

About Kenneth Eade

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written fifteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

“I’ve been writing all my life, but began publishing my work out of a passion for the environment. My wife, Valentina, is a professional photographer, who worked for two years on an environmental exhibition called, “Bee Cause I Care” which was exhibited by the Prince Albert II Foundation and is now touring cities in France to bring awareness to the importance of pollinators and the dangers facing them. I penned a few articles on the subject for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and turned my research into my first book, “Bless the Bees.” That passion continued with the publication of my novel, “An Involuntary Spy,” which is an action thriller that also points to the dangers of genetically engineered food. Then I began publishing the “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series,” which, in part, is based on actual experiences during my long career in law.

“Now I divide most of my time between France, where I have resided for the better part of 10 years, and Russia. I try to put as much realism in my novels as possible, and they all revolve around important social issues. I treasure all of my readers and love to hear from them, whether it’s good or bad. Sometimes I make changes based on their suggestions and one reader has inspired a character that has appeared in my latest two novels. Everyone who signs up on my mailing list at http://www.kennetheade.com gets a free ebook and I give away a Kindle Fire every month to a lucky winner on the list. I love this new adventure and hope you enjoy taking it with me.”

[1] Clinton’s comments (on the air) upon hearing of Muamar Gaddafi’s brutal torture and murder.

[2] Jacobson, Louis, Donald Trump mischaracterizes NATO change and his role in it, Politifact, August 16, 2016

[3] Weiss, Michael, when Donald Trump was more anti-NATO than Vladimir Putin, The Daily Beast, November 4, 2016

[4] Cartalucci, Tony, The Mystery of ISIS’ Toyota Army Solved, New Eastern Outlook, 2016

[5] Mishgea, Syrian Madness: US Backed Rebels Fight US Special Forces, June 25, 2016, Mishtalk

[6] Putin Tells Everyone Who Created ISIS, Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQuceU3x2Ww

 

[7] Crooke, Alistair, U.S. Special Forces Officer: How the CIA armed and trained jihadists for war in Syria, Consortium News, September 29, 2016

[8] Bartlett, Eva, The Villages in Aleppo Ravaged by America’s “Moderate” Rebels, Global Research, September 29, 2016

[9] Sputnik, Militants detonated a tunnel under the western gate of the citadel, July 7, 2015, Sputnik International

[10] Lamb, Christina, The Australian, Rebels resisting Russian backed troops in Syria

[11] CBS News, Reality Check, Ted Cruz right that Middle East was better off with Hussein and Gaddafi.

Best Selling Author

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