Lebanon - Syrian 'Sex Slave' Ring Busted after Hizbullah Tip-Off. (Naharnet).
A Hizbullah tip-off helped the Internal Security Forces dismantle the country's largest known sex trafficking ring, media reports said on Sunday.
The ISF operation that freed 75 mostly Syrian women was carried out last Sunday and Tuesday.
“A Syrian public passenger van driver was passing Friday night in a non-residential street in Beirut's southern suburbs when he noticed four scantily-dressed young women standing on the side of the road,” MTV said in a report on Sunday.
“The driver convinced the women to get in the van after they told him that they escaped from a faraway place where they were locked up,” it added.
The driver promised to help them and took them to an apartment in Beirut's southern suburbs where he lives with a number of Syrian compatriots, the TV network said.
The women were later “sexually harassed in the apartment, which prompted them to start screaming, the thing that drew the neighbors' attention,” MTV added.
“The neighbors then informed Hizbullah's 'security committee' in the area that something unusual was taking place in the apartment,” the TV network went on to say.
“The members of the security committee arrived on the scene and detained all of those who were in the apartment,” it added.
During interrogation, the young women said that they had escaped from a place in Jounieh “where they were suffering beatings and rape.”
The women revealed to police investigators that other women are locked up at the Chez Maurice resort in Maameltein, which prompted the ISF to carry out the raids, MTV said.
A doctor who was arrested in the operation has confessed to carrying out “nearly 200 abortions,” according to the ISF.
"This is the largest sex trafficking ring we've uncovered since the outbreak of the Syrian war," a Lebanese security source told AFP on Friday.
Ten male ring members, eight female workers and a nurse who worked for the traffickers were also arrested in the raids.
A security source said "an eight-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women" was found during the raids.
Even before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, Syrian women had been pushed into the illicit sex trade in neighboring Lebanon.
"However, as with any war, conflict has made Syrian women and children even more vulnerable," the security source said. "They pay the highest price." Read the full story here.