The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq
Combatting Human Trafficking
The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq or CYCI foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization that aims to free Christian and Yazidi women captured and forced into sex slavery by ISIS. Since June 2015, the non-profit has claimed to have freed over 140 Yazidi women and girls.
In 2014, Steve Maman connected with negotiators in Baghdad, Iraq to build a network to rescue Yazidi and Christian women and girls sold into sexual servitude by ISIS. Maman founded the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq in June 2015. Maman often visited Morocco and Iraq to purchase vintage cars to bring them back for his classic car dealership based in Montreal. During this time, he made contacts that would go on to help build his network of brokers within the ISIS-controlled areas.
In June 2015, Maman founded the CYCI foundation with a team of negotiators in Iraq who would rescue the girls by paying brokers. The foundation started raising funds for their operations through volunteer donations and a GoFundMe account. Maman currently serves as the president of the foundation and it claims to have rescued over 140 women and girls by May 2016. Once rescued, the women and girls are taken to an internally displaced persons' camp in Kurdistan and later re-united with their families.
The CYCI foundations is primarily involved in negotiating with brokers in ISIS controlled territories for the release of captured Yazidi women and girls. The organization releases funds to their members based in Iraq who pay brokers for releasing the women. The organization first takes the rescued women and girls internally displaced persons camp in Kurdistan and later makes efforts to re-unite them with their families. CYCI raises funds through donations made on the official website and through crowdfunding portals including GoFundMe. According to Maman, each rescue costs between $1000 to $3000.
Members of the Yazidis community which includes Babasheikh Kherto Ismael, the Yazidi spiritual leader,and those involved in outreach and humanitarian support dispute Maman's work and call for a greater transparency and oversight in the work with minority populations fleeing Iraq.
Founder of The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI)
Steve Maman, (born March 1, 1973), is a Canadian businessman, entrepreneur, social worker, and the founder of the CYCI foundation. Maman was born in Morocco on March 1, 1973, and was raised in Montreal, Canada where he became a vintage car dealer. Maman is married and is a father of six.
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