Well, not Hassan Feiraz, who’s trapped in Baghdad’s burgeoning child sex trade.
Hassan Feiraz, a 16-year-old boy, has started a desperate new life since being forced into the sex trade in Baghdad, joining a growing number of adolescents soliciting in Iraq under the threat of street gangs or the force of poverty.
"Every day I cry at night," Feiraz said. "I’m a homosexual and was forced to work as a prostitute because one of the people I had sex with took pictures of me in bed and said that, if I didn’t work for him, he was going to send the pictures to my family."
"My life is a disaster today. I could be killed by my family to restore their honour," he said, explaining that homosexuality was totally unacceptable in Iraq due to religious beliefs.
Following the conflict in 2003, there has been an increase in the number of commercial sex workers (CSWs) in the country, especially among teenagers, according to local officials.
This increase is attributed to economic pressure faced by families countrywide and the presence of new prostitution rings that have sprung up since the invasion. With society in turmoil and a raft of other serious issues to address, child protection has not been uppermost in the priorities of the transitional government.
The gangs use money or threats to get teenage boys to work for them, officials said.
Such is life in the center of Dubya’s debacle. At least Iraq is free. But hey, freedom is messy, right? They’ll get all this cleaned up right after they get that constitution nailed down. Of course, that’s still probably not going to make things better for Hassan. After alll, he’s gay.
Under Shari’ah or Islamic law, homosexual practise is a religious crime that carries the death sentence.
The transition constitution in place in Iraq for the past two years does not address homosexuality. A new constitution is currently being drafted.
Whether or not homosexuality it illegal, it is a taboo subject in Iraq and homosexual acts are strongly condemned by Muslims. Yet, these prostitution rings suggest, there is a demand for commercial sex workers to engage in homosexual acts.
Sheikh Hussein Salah, one of the heads of the Shi’ite Muslim community in Iraq, told IRIN in Baghdad that the families of those boys engaged in homosexual practices should "kill them", whether the situation was forced on them or they entered into it freely.
During Saddam Hussein’s regime, Salah said, homosexuality was illegal and homosexual practices were punishable by death. "We hope that this will be applied under the new constitution," he added.
Nice. So Iraq’s government will probably find a way to help Hassan "come out of homosexuality" by "helping" him right out of this life.
But at least then he won’t be a sex slave anymore.