GDN Newspaper: Cyber sex sites spur vice probe

Cyber sex sites spur vice probe By REBECCA TORR A BAHRAIN human rights group has launched an investigation to unmask the perpetrators behind more than 35 websites offering sex to customers here and in other Gulf countries. Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) president Mohammed Al Maskati said they were concerned about women who were being brought here on promises of lawful employment only to find themselves victims of sexual exploitation. He said women from Europe, Middle East and Asia were being advertised for sex through more than 35 Arabic and English websites. One of the main websites, he said, was based in the US, but the GCC co-ordinator was thought to be operating from Bahrain. "We found that it is more difficult to access these sites in countries such as the UAE and Kuwait, but they are easily accessible from Bahrain," he told the GDN. "We think the co-ordinator is from Bahrain, but we don't yet know who it is.

“We know the network is registered in the US but we think there is an agency in Bahrain because girls living in Juffair, Manama and Adliya are being advertised for sex.

“Our team found more than 1,000 pictures of girls who were all below the age of 25.

“We think there is a Bahraini girl on the website, but we can’t confirm this because they only use nicknames.”

One of the customers who visited some of the websites told the society that he was surprised at how easy it was to contact girls in Bahrain and other countries.

The man, who wants to be identified only as Mr M H, said at first he thought the websites were for dating, but soon discovered photographs of naked girls who were offering sex services.

“Some Arab and non-Arab websites – the nonsexual ones – post pop-up advertisements,” Mr M H told the BYSHR.

“These advertisements only appear when the user clicks a certain link. They include photos of naked girls and under the photo a sentence saying that they want to have sex.

“Most of the locations shown in these photos are in Bahrain.”

Mr M H also told the society that when he contacted one of the girls she explained that she would not accept any currency other than Bahraini dinars.

Mr Al Maskati said the society had published an initial report on human trafficking on the Internet and this had been sent to human rights organisations in the US to see if they could help with the investigation.

In the report, the society calls for those behind the websites to be exposed; for the introduction of tougher laws to eliminate human trafficking in Bahrain, particularly those related to sexually misusing women; and for the launch of an investigation into how girls are brought to Bahrain for Internet prostitution.

He said the society was planning to launch a campaign with bloggers and other human rights organisations but it was finding it difficult because people in the Gulf were reluctant to talk about using the websites.

“We must find more information before we approach the (Interior) Ministry because if we report it to authorities they will block the websites and we won’t be able to investigate them,” explained Mr Al Maskati.

“Anyway it won’t solve the problem because they will make the website accessible in another way.

“We want to know who the co-ordinators in Bahrain are and where do the girls come from and how are they brought here.

“We suspect girls are brought here, their passports taken and they are made to become prostitutes to pay back the fees for coming here.

“We think the girls pay more than 80 per cent of their earnings to their sponsors.”

Anyone with information about human trafficking through sex sites in Bahrain and other Gulf countries, should contact Mr Al Maskati on 39813867.

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