Special to WorldTribune.com
Social media activists claim Hizbullah is directly linked to the largest prostitution network ever operated in Lebanon.
Pro-Hizbullah media is painting a completely different picture. Fars, the official Iranian news agency, ran an article entitled: “How did Hizbullah rescue young Syrian girls from prostitution network in Jounieh?”
Lebanese police discovered the network in the coastal city of Jounieh, north of Beirut. They said the network, which began operations in 2011, included 75 women, most of them Syrian, who were convinced to leave their homeland and move to Lebanon by offering them jobs at Lebanese restaurants.
Police said the women were forced to serve as prostitutes 20 hours a day. If a woman’s client did not like the way he was treated by her, she would have been tortured or sexually harassed by the network’s operators, police said.
Four women managed to escape from the brothel, fleeing to the southern Dahiya, a Beirut suburb and Hizbullah enclave. A source told the Lebanese daily newspaper al-Nahar that the women arrived in Dahiya believing that they would find a refuge there from the network’s operators only to be sexually harassed by Hizbullah members.
Lebanese journalist Jerry Maher, a media activist opposed to Hizbullah, said the network was headed by Hizbullah member Ali Hussien Zeaiter, who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2014 for “helping Hizbullah to acquire UAVs.”
Maher said a group of Hizbullah’s deputies in Lebanese Parliament helped the prostitution network smuggle the women into Lebanon illegally. The Hizbullah-affiliated parliament members also ordered senior Lebanese security officials to aid and protect the network’s members, in exchange for some of the network’s profits.