Organ trafficking emerges in Syria’s Damascus

Syrian children are seen at a make-shift refugee camp some kilometers away from the Syria-Turkey border. File photo

ARA News

Gaziantep, Turkey – As the war and security situation continue to deteriorate in Syria, children’s abductions and human trafficking have become a common scene in the city of Damascus in the last few months.

The Syrian capital, which has suffered multiple crisis-related issues over the past four years, now faces an unprecedented phenomenon, that of “human organ trafficking”.

Speaking to ARA News, Nadia Kamal, mother of an 8-year-old girl in the al-Qadam neighborhood of Damascus, said: “My daughter, Raghad, had disappeared from a park in the neighborhood. After failed attempts to find her in any hospital, I’ve posted an notification online about her disappearance, but yet nobody responded.” 

“However, ten days later, an unidentified person contacted me on the phone, saying my daughter is in a good condition and I can receive her,” she said, adding that the girl was handed over by a masked man.

“Indeed, I received my daughter. However, impacts of a surgery were apparent on her body. After investigation by a doctor we discovered that her kidney was removed,” she said. 

Muhammad Ali, from Rukn al-Din neighborhood of Damascus, told ARA News that more than four children were abducted in their area recently.

“Last week, an armed group kidnapped several children, in front of their homes, from the city of Daria and then let them return. Their families reported that several organs were removed from their returning children.” 

According to the United Nations (U.N), an estimated 4.25 million people are homeless inside the country ــ half of whom are reportedly children.

However, the issue of human organ trafficking “inside Syria” has not been yet put on the table of the humanitarian organizations or handled by the U.N. organizations. There is no accurate mentioning of those victimized children, who still endure the conflict inside their war-torn country, beside those who suffer exploitation in refugee camps in the neighboring countries. 

The overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees are women and children. As such, they are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse. Amid the lack of statistical evidence, one phenomenon that has been witnessed among the Syrian refugee population is marriage to Syrian refugee girls in exchange for money, which is a practice that is regarded by human rights activists as a form of human trafficking.


Reporting by: Beri Mohammed

Source: ARA News

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