We all know it happens in real life, and now it’s up on Facebook: “Syrian refugees for marriage.” The page has been live for five days, posting photos and statuses about Syrian refugee women “across the Arab world, of all ages and religions – share this page!”
If this is the first time you’ve been exposed to marital exploitation of refugees, then you need to read up. NOW’s Ana Maria Luca has covered the issue for months. Other publications and human rights groups have sounded the alarm. The Facebook page, however sickening, is a mere extension of the realities on the ground.
Fortunately, netizens have started to speak up. Comments on the page frequently voice disapproval and disgust. Women’s rights NGO KAFA was circulating the page today in an effort to get it shut down, encouraging its followers to report it to Facebook’s administrators. As of 1:00 PM today, it’s still up. I encourage everyone to report the page, get it shut down, and demonstrate to whatever sick agency or organization was behind it that this is absolutely socially unacceptable.
But remember – even after the page gets shut down, young Syrian girls will still be sold into marriages. “Survival sex” and child marriages continue throughout Lebanon and the Arab world. Getting the page shut down is a small victory in the face of a much more devastating issue: the widespread cases of marital and sexual exploitation of Syria’s refugees.
Follow the author on Twitter @gebeilym.