Thai version

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bondage


It is July 1977 on the Red Sea. I had traveled down from Khamis Mushayt to the Red Sea by the old coral dock that was build by the Ottoman Empire. Ed Wright and I had made camp and we had our campfire going. It was a nice clear night. We were just finishing our supper and were setting around talking. Then we seen the headlights of a vehicle turn off the road and come our way. We seldom see any vehicles and never see a vehicle after dark. We are surprised when that the vehicle pulls right into our camp and stopped. The doors on the four door pickup open and out steps four Saudi’s with AK-47 rifles. They came right up to our camp fire and said “Move!” When that we did not make any move to do some thing they said “Move!” again in not a very nice tone of voice. Then they pointed their AK-47’s at us and said “Move! Or bang, bang, bang.” By that time we are fairly sure that for some strange reason they did not want us to camp were that we were. So we started to load our stuff in the Nissan Patrol.

When that we had finished loading all of our things we drove on down the beach and passed a knoll and set up our camp again. By walking back to the top of the knoll we could see that the four Saudi’s was still at the old coral dock. We went back to camp and were tired from work and travel and soon and fell asleep in our bedrolls.

At about 2:00 in the morning I heard a lot of noise coming from the old coral dock. I brought my field glasses and climbed up to the top of the knoll were that I could see what was going on. An Arabic dhow was coming into the old coral dock. When that they tied up they started to unload their cargo. The ship was full of Somalia women. I had been told that this happened but this was the first time I had seen it. The Saudi’s would go to the poor parts of northern Somalia and buy the Somalia girls from their parents, ages was from 12 to the 20’s. The Somalia’s had large families and if they could sell one of their daughters they could buy more cows or maybe food to help them get through hard times. The price the Saudi’s paid was from $300 to $500 for each women/girl. Then the Saudi’s would get together and get an Arabic dhow and load the girls on it in Somalia. These women/girls had no passports and the Saudi government would not let the women/girls be brought into Saudi unless they had passports and visas. This was too much trouble and cost too much to find somebody to pay off and would take to long. It was easier to just get an Arabic dhow and have the girls brought over on it. They would land at places like the old coral dock that was out of the way. Then they could unload in an hour and be on their way before anybody would know what was happening. Then they would load the girls/women into pickups and suburbans and transport them into Najran on the interior. In less than an hour the girls/women was unloaded from the dhow and loaded into the awaiting vehicles and transported inland. Najran was more of and open towns than was the other towns. It did not have all of the police and other controls that other towns had. Most of the girls were turned into house maids. Some became pregnant and had children which just became part of the extended family. They supplied the addition hands needed by these families. A few was able to return but a very few.

Najran had a large open market and they sold all kinds of things at this market they also sold all kinds of guns at the market, not like other markets we had been to that never sold any arms. When that I was their looking at knifes I heard gun shots and turned and looked and they was showing somebody that wanted to buy a gun how it worked. I was the only person that even turned their head. I was told they also had a slave market here. However I never did see any slave market. Slavery was outlawed in Saudi Arabia in 1969 just 8 years ago. So if they had one I am sure it was well hidden.

When they all left I went back to bed. I am sure glad that we had moved. Now I know why that they had made us move. I said a quick prayer saying how glad I was that I had been born in the United States. It has a lot of faults but is better than most countries I have been in.

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