Gulf Tourists”Are they people of lust and corruption?” [Archives:2005/872/Culture]

August 29 2005

Hakim Almasmari
Yemen Times Staff
[email protected]

Recently, Yemen has seen a dramatic rise in the number of visitors flocking to spend their summer vacation in this culturally rich country. Visitors from many countries arrived; including those from Asia, Europe and not to forget our friendly Gulf State neighbors. Numerous tourism sites and scenes are available to give our visitors a welcoming and memorable visit. Many Gulf citizens take numerous visits to Yemen under different reasons and slogans. But for some gulf visitor's, tourism has only one meaning “following the shadows of Yemeni girls and women”. Its coming out into the open and people are really amazed.

The controversy has grown so vast and is spreading like a dangerous virus. The government has only recently acknowledged the scale of the problem. Hundreds if not thousands of Gulf tourists, come to Yemen for the purpose of finding local prostitutes. Little effort is noticed in stopping such a horrifying issue confronting our conservative society. The recent developments have made Yemen a new Arab hub for prostitution. In some situations, it's hard to differentiate between the sex industry in Yemen and the one in India.

While the young and old generations of Gulf tourists have different techniques to attract a desired prey, their goal is one, ” get a hold on Yemeni women”. The younger generation usually goes and crowd up famous local streets trying to find the right choice to feast on. The older generation busy themselves using the temporary marriage as an easy way to achieve their desire and sexual passion.

“It's not possible for older men in their 40's to chase young women in streets, so they do their job under the table by destroying innocent lives of young Yemeni women with the so called tourism marriage” said a local activist.

The average age for victimized young women haunted by the tourism marriage crisis is between 14-24 years. Many of these innocent girls were snatched away from their school seats and forced to drop out of school to marry these careless people. Life span for such marriages is extremely astonishing. In most situations, they vary from as little as 10 days to as high as a month. The span almost never reaches one year.

Seventy five percent of those who fall in the tourism marriage trap lose confidence and faith in them selves in the long run. They feel that their future is virtually destroyed due to the divorce they receive after only a couple weeks of marriage.

A more nerve wrecking side of the story is that many Gulf tourists have previously traveled to many Asian countries for the same reason under the slogan of “tourism”, then come to Yemen spreading the diseases they received abroad. For this, many new diseases erupt and come into existence in our country. One of the fastest spreading diseases in connection with this issue is AIDS. This is only one of the reasons for its shocking dramatic spread. Recent stats show that almost 14,000 people in Yemen carry the HIV virus. AIDS cases have more than tripled over the past four years. Eventually, it slowly spreads to locals who are weak hearted and go after prostitutes to achieve a certain pleasure.

A need of urgency to stop this horror tragedy is a must. The government has recently realized the greatness of this issue and is taking careful procedures to uproot such actions before it reaches a turning point. This will involve massive challenges.

Going back to the issue of the older generation of Gulf tourist, without any sense of shame, they knock door to door until their mission is accomplished. One victim's parent said ” they come to our houses in a very peaceful manner and with their mouths busy uttering god's remembrance”. ” They could fool anyone eventually, with their soft and pre-organized approach.”

“I really don't understand the difference between this and adultery,” the father added. “Such people have no morality what so ever. If they had such a quality, they would retreat from such terrifying actions. Marriage is supposed to be peace, love, and comfort not to fulfill your sexual desire only”.

In Islam, to have such marriages organized for a set time period, is unlawful and therefore forbidden.

This is the fate of many poor and beautiful Yemeni girls who marry rich Arab tourists then eventually find themselves abandoned. The problem gets worse if Gulf tourists decide to take their temporary wives back with them. Some of those cruel and corrupted so-called husbands, forced their innocent young wives to indulge in pornography and prostitution. Death threats are a possibility if they do not do as asked.

A feeling of disgust erupts when even thinking of such an issue. How can a person have such vicious feelings and go so far in doing inhuman acts.

Ibb seems to be the most wounded govermerate in this ongoing drama. Until recently 93 girls from Ibb governerate have been victims to such horrifying issues. This ongoing crisis has also spread to other governerates mainly Sana'a, Hajjah, Taiz, and Aden.

While such marriages are only occurring for the first time in Yemen, many countries went threw the same tragedy including in the past including Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Pakistan.

Many Yemeni activists are working on introducing a new law to govern marriages of Yemenis to foreigners. We call on all human rights organizations and NGO's who care for children and women issues to lend a helping hand.

But we mainly call on all Yemeni citizens to open their hearts to the truth, and stop selling their daughters while to treat them like the precious jewels, which they are.

The consequences on the Yemeni society, when a girl is abandoned and not given the right attention, is the great spread of adultery, not to mention the spread of HIV.

The Yemeni government must be committed to use all the mechanisms available to uproot such criminal proceedings. Let's hope that solutions come timely enough to save the future of not women, but innocent young girls whose only fault is coming from a poor family.