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Prostitutes conquer Kirkuk: a report written with blood

By Soran Mama Hama - posted Thursday, 7 August 2008

Translator’s introduction

This report was published for the first time in Kurdish in Lvin magazine on June 15, 2008. Lvin is an independent bimonthly magazine published in standard Kurdish in Sulaymaniyah, south Kurdistan.

This report, and the secrets revealed in it, is widely thought to be a main factor behind the assassination of the author at his own home in Kirkuk on July 21, 2008, just 36 days after its publication.

He had received many death threats before his murder. Soran Mama Hama was only 23-years-old. This report demonstrates that, solely through his own efforts and his humanistic and patriotic interest in reporting the truth, he had established himself as an effective professional reporter. His great ability, clear language and professionalism combined with courage and commitment to the causes of the underdog make his loss irreplaceable and the crime of his murder even more atrocious.


I call upon UNAMI, the US Embassy in Iraq, the British Consulate in Kurdistan Region, Amnesty International, the Iraqi Government, Kurdistan Regional Government and Kurdish organisations and journalists interested in Soran’s case to use this report as an important starting point for the investigation of his murder.

It is obvious that whoever murdered Soran Mama Hama was trying to kill free investigative journalism and ultimately the truth.

Prostitutes conquer Kirkuk

The phenomenon of prostitution in Kirkuk is becoming widespread. Part of the officers and high-ranking persons of the police, security and other institutions of the city are involved in it and they turn a blind eye to, and even facilitate, this phenomenon and participate in it by buying the flesh of these women.


Latif’s mother is an elderly woman. She speaks in Arabic and knows a poor Kurdish. In her looks and conduct she wants to behave like a powerful man. Wearing a blue tracksuit and a large red blouse, she was sitting comfortably on an old scruffy sofa. She was smoking. Her teenage son next to her was busy with his mobile phone. He was receiving constant phone calls. They were all asking the same thing: they wanted to visit the house and he had a positive answer to all of them. I asked him to switch his mobile off so that I could ask them some questions.

Um Latif runs a network of prostitutes in Kirkuk city. Contrary to other prostitutes I have talked to, she says the main factor that led her into this business was her involvement with the police. She said: “the checkpoints and visits to police stations taught me this business.” She said to me: “There is a lot of corruption and bureaucracy in the offices. You cannot have any service done for you unless you have money or girls to offer [as a bribe].”

This body-selling woman chose the second option. She says: “Because I took girls to them I have been able to free prisoners from jail. I have had work done for me by the civic registry office and the passport office.” Latif’s mother says: “There are more than 200 brothels in Kirkuk. In each of these there are between two and six prostitutes. I started this business after the downfall of Saddam Hussain in 2003.”

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This article was translated by On Line Opinion author Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

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About the Author

Soran Mama Hama was only 23-years-old when he was assinated in his home in Kirkuk in Kurdistan. He was a journalist for Lvin magazine

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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