andrea bruce

In War's Wake: Prostitution in Iraq

(2003-2004)

Halla Muhammad Maarouf’s husband, Walid Hameed, was shot in the head and killed in the violence surrounding Baghdad during the war. A widow, Halla turned to prostitution to support her family. "If it wasn't for my children, I'd kill myself," she has said, many times.

Lit by an oil lamp, Halla prepares herself for the night. Widowed in the initial days of the Iraq war, she turned to prostitution to support her family. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Customers make arrangements for a night of dancing, drinking and sex in Fallujah with Halla and her friends . Each of the four women were paid $400 USD for the night. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Halla tucks her earnings under her traditional Abaya and bra.  She keeps Iraqi dinars on the left and US dollars on the right. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
     
  
Halla entertains a customer in her Baghdad apartment. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Men from the previous night's party sleep on the floor next to Halla's sleeping son. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Halla argues with a man who regularly brings her customers. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
     
  
Halla cries over the death of her cousin who, like her, was a prostitute.  Halla said her cousin disappeared after a group of men took her to a town north of Baghdad. She was later found dead in the desert. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Halla entertains a customer in her Baghdad apartment. She makes anywhere from $100 to $400 USD a night. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)
  
Halla gets a kiss from her son Iaad Hameed, 4, while her two year-old drinks from a bottle. Halla’s husband, the father of her two children, was killed in the violence surrounding Baghdad during the initial days of the U.S. invasion in Iraq. (photo by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)