Sex Trafficking of the Coptic Women of Egypt


In Egypt, there is an epidemic of Islamists abducting Coptic Christian women and selling them into sex slavery.  There are hundreds of publicized cases, and thousands of un-publicized ones.  The kidnapped woman are subjected to physical & psychological abuse, enslavement, rape, forced marriage, & forced conversion to Islam.  The late Coptic Pope Shenouda III acknowledged this crisis as early as 1976.  There were at least 550 documented cases of Coptic girls being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam over the previous five years prior to the Arab Spring.  The Arab Spring & its aftermath only led to an increase in abductions.  The problem facing us is that this is not random abduction, it is a massive sex trafficking rig that is spread through a number of Middle Eastern Islamic Nations. 

Many of the Islamist abductors work in cooperation with corrupt fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters who infiltrate every aspect of society, including the police force and local government.  Thus, when grieving families of abducted girls try to go to the authorities for help, they are often ignored.  However, radical imams from across the world openly call for the abduction of Coptic girls throughout Egypt via Satellite TV, and this has continued unhindered.  Making matters worse, Jean Maher the President of the French Office of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights revealed that the kidnappers are often funded by Salafists in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations and are paid anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 per Copt.  New Jersey Congressman Christopher Smith, the prime sponsor and author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 confirms that this is sex slavery and human trafficking.  He likewise confirms that the Egyptian government under President Mubarak has failed to address this issue prior to the Arab Spring.  When the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt under Muhammad Morsi following the ousting of Murbarak, the new Egyptian Constitution drafted by the Morsi removed all prohibitions against slavery, stating it was legal under Sharia.  Morsi likewise refused to address the issue of human trafficking and stated the government would not abide by any form of International Law that went against Sharia.  This clearly gave a green light to the Muslim Brotherhood and all other Islamists throughout Egypt that the sex slavery and forced conversion of Coptic girls would go without any intrusion by the new Egyptian government under Morsi.

Many of these abducted girls are from low economic status, they are often befriended by Muslim girls who in truth act as agents for the Muslim Brotherhood.  Some of the abducted Coptic girls are even drugged and kidnapped.  These girls are often taken to El Gamayah El Shariah locations, which serve as centers for converting women to Islam.  Today, over 6,000 such centers are in operation throughout Egypt.  Many are financed by Al-Azhar University, the Egyptian government, and several Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia.  They claim to be charitable health clinics but are in truth centers designed to induct people into Islam.  Right now, the Coptic Christians are powerless to stop this.  The police forces are so seriously infiltrated, that they do nothing to stop the abductions, and in some cases, collaborate with the abductors.  Copts can’t even take matters into their own hands as the Islamist abductors often warn the families that they will retaliate against them and their churches if they try to get their abducted girls back.  This abduction crisis also further illustrates the powerful double-standard that has deeply infected Egyptian society.  Whereas the abduction and rape of Coptic girls goes on without punishment or interference from the government or the populace, a mere rumor of a Christian man having an affair with a Muslim woman is enough to set off mob attacks.


The epidemic is becoming so bad that Congress is considering taking action.  Currently, H.Res.673 has 39 co-sponsors in which Congress will push Egypt to protect their Coptic Christian populace, but this is not enough.  The sex trafficking rig is so entrenched in the region that only a collective, worldwide effort has any chance of bringing an end to this horrific epidemic once and for all.

Sources

Alton, Lord David.  “Egypt and the Copts.”  In Free the Copts: From Ancient Glory to Modern Oppression.  Edited by Ramy Tadros.  St. Clair, Australia: Australian Coptic Movement Association Limited, 2013.

Ghaly, Dr. Moheb.  “What is in a Name?”  In Free the Copts: From Ancient Glory to Modern Oppression.  Edited by Ramy Tadros.  St. Clair, Australia: Australian Coptic Movement Association Limited, 2013.

Hammer, Joshua.  “Aftershocks: The Toppling of Egypt’s Government Has Led to a Renewal of Violence Against the Nation’s Christian Minority.”  Smithsonian.  47.7.  (Nov. 2011): 1-7.  Accessed April 15, 2017 from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/a-new-crisis-for-egypts-copts-102273675/.

Kendal, Elizabeth.  After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East.  Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2016.

Jackson, Vickie.  “Coptic Struggle for Equality in Egypt: Now a Struggle for Survival.”  In Free the Copts: From Ancient Glory to Modern Oppression.  Edited by Ramy Tadros.  St. Clair, Australia: Australian Coptic Movement Association Limited, 2013.

Messiah, Ibrahim.  “Seeing it Firsthand.”  In Free the Copts: From Ancient Glory to Modern Oppression.  Edited by Ramy Tadros.  St. Clair, Australia: Australian Coptic Movement Association Limited, 2013.

“Minorities at Risk: Coptic Christians in Egypt.”  Hearing Before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.  First Session.  210 Cannon House Office Building, WashingtonDC.  July 22, 2011.

"H.Res.673 - Expressing concern over attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt."  115th Congress 2017-2018.  Accessed from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/673?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22coptic+christians%22%5D%7D&r=1

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