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My Sister, Nicole Vienneau, Has Gone Missing in Syria - The Beginning Of My Ascendance — LiveJournal
April 22nd, 2007
10:59 am

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My Sister, Nicole Vienneau, Has Gone Missing in Syria

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)

Where is the bus driver?

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Hi Matt,

Have you found the bus driver on the bus she went on? Did anyone actually see her get on the bus? And why didn't Cairo Hotel report it when she didn't return? Did they take her stuff from her room or leave it in there? Was her passport with her? What about money, bank card, jewelry etc? Is there a way to take out an ad in a local paper about it?

How about hanging up signs and getting an international phone number that people can call free of charge from Syria? Is that possible? How about making a form that you can put up that people can type tips into without having to use email (jotform.com or zohocreator)? Have there been any other people missing in the area?

Amira
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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And Matt, I hate to say this, but you might want to try to have people check out brothals in Syria and say the UAE. I have read reports that there is trafficking through Syria and UAE. Alot of Iraqi girls are ending up in UAE.

I am sorry to say that but I have to in the interests of exploring every possibility.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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I really respect your opinion but I did not understand what has this to do with Syria?? I was wondering did you search that? Or have you heard it somewhere? Someone told you about it? In all cases that is not true. This is one of the safest countries in the world and everyone knows why. What happened to Nicole could happen to anyone anywhere. Girls are not sent from Syria to Iraq or even UAE like you suppose.
Please try to be more positive and not judge on a country you know nothing about instead of what you hear in the media.
Best wishes for you Matt. Hope you hear good news soon.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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I don't believe the response was meant negatively, so much as an attempt to be helpful. You are right, things like this can happen anywhere, but as possibly unlikely or non "good news" as the possibility may be, I'm sure it IS a possibility and worth looking into that this is where she may be. Human trafficking occurs across the world, even in the US. We all assume our own countries are the safest, when there may be underground activities going on that we don't realize exist.

I am completely optimistic in Nicole's case, but the writer is correct in that all options should be explored, negative and positive, and I'm sure Matt knows this. The suggestion was made as light-heartedly as possible and I do agree that suggestions of this nature are hard to read and see and think about, but any possibility without many leads should remain open.
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From:vienneau
Date:May 10th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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As has been said, it's a possibility. The issue we face is whether it's a likely possibility and thus how much of our resources do we dedicate to it. If it is, how do we go about following up on it?

At this point, the only way we have to determine whether that happened is if someone saw her get snatched. Conveniently, that matches what we need to find for many other scenarios, so we'll naturally find out if we get information in that area.

Working from the other end and checking out all the brothels in the Middle East is likely beyond our resources, given the likelihood of this situation. So there's not much we can do about this option other than what we're already doing. Should any of our readers be visiting brothels in the Middle East in the near future, please feel free to bring and post one of our posters.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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From the CIA factbook:

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Syria is a destination country for women from South and Southeast Asia and Africa for domestic servitude and from Eastern Europe and Iraq for sexual exploitation; women are recruited for work in Syria as domestic servants, but some face conditions of exploitation and involuntary servitude including long hours, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, and physical and sexual abuse; Eastern European women recruited for work in Syria as cabaret dancers are not permitted to leave their work premises without permission and have their passports withheld; some displaced Iraqi women and children are reportedly forced into sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 3 - Syria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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Please do not assume people know nothing about Syria just because you disagree with their opinion or don't like to hear it. I have lived in Syria before.

It was not easy to mention the possibility, and yes there are reports about trafficking of women from Iraq to Syria and other countries. If there is trafficking going on, then it is a possiblity (hopefully very remote) that she somehow got caught by someone working in one of these networks. The good part is, if this is true, there might be a chance she can escape or the family can 'buy' her freedom as many have. So it is worth investigating even if it is utterly terrifying for the family to think about.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 9th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/38db2e39d044b5618c8e973059c18ca9.htm
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From:vienneau
Date:May 11th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)

Re: Where is the bus driver?

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Hi Amira,

Those are a lot of good suggestions.

No bus driver has admitted to seeing her. This is leading authorities to believe she may not have made it to the bus as you suggest.

The Cairo Hotel says they reported her missing on April 3rd. The big question is: why didn't anyone tell us? There is no answer to that.

All her stuff was still at the hotel. She carried all her valuable goods with her, but we know exactly what she would have left behind and it's all there.

We are pondering a local ad.

We're trying to figure out the local phone number issue. It seems likely that I will be in Hama next week, and even then I will need some local number for people to call. But I still don't speak Arabic. If only there was a way to quickly hire a bilingual call-centre!

People can post here anonymously in the comments - they all show up for me as "Anonymous" unless you also have a livejournal blog.

There has never been another foreigner missing for this long.
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