At Camp for Syrians, Foreign Suitors Seek Brides

Relief officials say matchmakers are preying on desperation

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 24, 2012 7:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Many of the Syrians flooding into a refugee camp in Jordan are war widows with young children, a phenomenon that has attracted hordes of matchmakers and older Arab men from other countries looking for brides, reports the Washington Post. Some see it as a blessing—one 19-year-old, for example, accepted the proposal of a middle-aged Kuwaiti engineer and looks forward to a "new country with a new life."

But others, including UN aid officials, say they are seeing more and more child brides and sham marriages that result in forced prostitution. “Just because we have lost our homes, they think our women are free for the taking,” says one 42-year-old male in the camp, one of many trying to root out the matchmakers. “We are going to prove that you cannot buy Syrian women.” Read the full story here.

A Syrian refugee woman walks with her children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan.
A Syrian refugee woman walks with her children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
Syrian refugee, Omm Ahmed, from Daraa, Syria, carries her newborn near her tent, at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Syrian refugee, Omm Ahmed, from Daraa, Syria, carries her newborn near her tent, at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.   (AP photo/Mohammad Hannon)
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