Sunday, March 06, 2005

Here is a letter that I am sending around and for those of you who did not make my mailing list, consider this your copy. Also as he letter states, forward it to everyone you know.

Dear Friends,

I am writing you about a very sad subject which should concern all of us. The subject is the trafficking and exploitation of Armenian women and children to the Untied Arab Emirates.

First let me start by introducing myself.

My name is Ara Manoogian. I am an Armenian-American, from Pasadena, California, who relocated to the Armenian enclave of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) 7 years ago and presently lives in the city of Martuni.

I have been working as a human-rights activist since 1999, under the umbrella of the Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc., dealing with social and economic issues that effect our people.

Though my family history is an interesting subject in itself, I won’t get into it other than to say that what I do today is not something new to our family. My ancestors from my father’s and mother’s side have been activists in Armenian issues for over a thousand years, starting with the Bagratuni royal family (886 to 1045), who I am a descendent of and in more recent history, my grandfather Shahan Natalie, who was the mastermind behind the executions of the Turkish and Azerbaijani officials who were guilty of carrying out the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Now that you have an idea of who I am, let me tell you a little about what I have been involved in investigating for the last year and the reason I am writing you.

It was brought to my attention last year that the phenomenon of trafficking underage girls from Armenia to the United Arab Emirate was not just speculation, but a fact.

At that time, we had information that there were at least 30 girls from the age of 13 to 16-years-old and close to 500 girls and women over the age of 18 found there.

For the planning stage, a couple members of our investigative team and I, paid a 4-day visit to Dubai to learn the lay of the land and to follow leads we had to see if in fact what we were told was accurate.

At the end of our first visit, we were convinced that phenomenon existed and after a couple more extended visits, found that our initial estimate of 500 women and children was not accurate, but the figure is closer to 2,000 as of January 2005.

For the most part, the victims are tricked into going, being approached by head-hunters, looking for laborers to go aboard working on farms or offices.

A good number of the victims are divorced women, who due to unfavorable economic conditions in Armenia, their husbands had abandoned their family all together, leaving the mothers to fend for themselves and their children.

Our investigation has yielded a wealth of information, which documents that not only is this an Armenian issue, but it is an international issue, effecting women and children from all over the world, who today are found in the UAE.

We believe that we will get results from our findings. We know that what we have done up until now is just the stating point and there is much work to be done to help the victims return to Armenia and find the help they need to sustain their families with legitimate economic opportunities.

Due to the covert nature and danger of this investigation, we were unable to appeal to the Armenian community for support and for the most part finance came from my family and a couple of close friends, but now that we have secured the information we need to expose this problem, the time has come to turn to everyone to get involved.

I invite you to visit and and read the stories we have so far posted on this subject. Once you have done this, think about what you will do to get involved and help the Armenian women and children who are right now living in a hell far from home and don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help.

This is a chance for you to literally save their lives. I say this as of the three visits we were there, one Armenian girl was murdered. That is 3 Armenian girls that we know of in the last 12 months. The last was Gayanne.

If you are interested in getting involved, please write back to me at:

I also ask that you forward this letter on to everyone you know, Armenian and non-Armenian, as if we are to win this battle that is in front of us, we are going to need all the help we can get.

Sincerily yours,

Ara Manoogian
NKR Representative
Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.

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