All Forms of Prostitution: Violence and Hypocrisy in the Arab World and Europe – the Arab Women’s Perspective

Born in the RDC in 1986, half Lebanese and half-Belgian, Alicia Arbid holds a Master degree in Communication. Specialized in Media and information Management, she currently works as the Coordinator of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association (AWSA)-Belgium. For almost ten years, she has been developing knowledge and expertise on women's rights with specific focus on Arab women, both immigrants and women whose families have lived in Belgium for several generations.

As a feminist militant she engages in migration and sexual education issues with a gender perspective and grassroots experiences. Therefore, she is working with local associations, creating guidelines and organizing various activities with and for migrant women to advance gender equality and to improve their position both here and in the Arab countries. She is also active in different feminist networks, such as the European Network of Migrant Women. She is involved in the advocacy and general campaign for women's rights, equality and justice, combating stereotypes and all forms of violence and discrimination against women and

‘I will speak about the whole spectrum of prostitution in the Arab World and how this relates to the European context in which Arab women find themselves when they migrate. Prostitution in Arab countries is part of a wider problem of large-scale human trafficking, mainly depending on pimping. Bounding up in taboo and double standards, shame and silence, prostitution comes in many forms, using specific codes such as in some night clubs of Beirut, using linguistic code-shifting to talk about it without sounding vulgar. What is involved in defining a prostitute in the Arab communities, then, is a complex moral judgment about a woman's social behavior, number of sexual partners, the extent to which she submits to familial controls over her social life, honor and her loyalty to the community.

From the pimps who arrange temporary "summer marriages" for male tourists looking to buy religiously compliant sex with underage girls, to prostitutes settled down as dancers, singers or hairdressers, this hypocrisy increases the vulnerability of women and girls. Nationality comes into play of course. But the common denominators remain violence and male domination ...'

Alicia will be involved in the following FiLiA session:
Sexual Exploitation: where Misogyny and Racism meet              (Saturday Afternoon)