Young girls sold into forced labour are the largest group of trafficking victims identified by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps. IOM counter-trafficking experts warn that more than a year into a crisis that has seen the number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar soar to almost a million, more desperate families are sending their young daughters off into dangerous work situations because most households have no other way to earn money in the camps.
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Women and girls make up nearly half of the 258 million people worldwide who have crossed international borders to escape danger or pursue opportunity. Amidst unprecedented levels of forced displacement – with 68.5 million people driven from their homes by the end of 2017 – about half of refugees, too, are women and girls.
A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF today launched a joint initiative to increase protection for the growing numbers of children and others with specific needs arriving in Europe. The agencies plan to scale up 20 Child and Family Protection Support Hubs, known as "Blue Dots," along the most frequently used migration routes in Europe.