More than a year into the crisis in Cox's Bazar, the number of Rohingya refugees has reached nearly one million, with young girls in Bangladesh refugee camps sold into forced labour accounting for the largest group of trafficking victims, reported the UN Migration Agency (IOM) on Tuesday.
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Refugees & IDPs
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.
Mercy Akout is a firm believer in educating women and young girls. A South Sudanese refugee living in Kenya's camp, Mercy escaped forced child marriage to become a vocal activist, fighting for women's rights. She works in her community, encouraging families to send their daughters to school and stop harmful cultural practices like child marriage.
When she first arrived in Jordan as a refugee from Sudan five years ago, Waed was painfully shy, refusing to talk to anyone outside her family. Now, sprinting around a basketball court flinging passes and shouting encouragement to her teammates, she says she is unrecognizable from the girl she once was. Waed attributes her transformation to Reclaim Childhood, a non-profit sports programme for refugee and local girls in Jordan.
Sonjida was forced to flee her home and now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. An estimated 693,000 Rohingya have been driven into Bangladesh (as of April 2018). Over half of them are children. A month after arriving at the camp Sonjida got married and now she is pregnant.
While the number of child marriages occurring among Syrian refugees in Iraq is not available, research conducted among Syrian refugees elsewhere suggests a link between the poverty and instability facing displaced families like Aysheh’s, and rising pressure for girls to get married. Feeling helpless, Aysheh sought help from the UNFPA-supported Zahrat Al-Yasamin women’s social centre in the camp.
'SheFighter' Self-Defence Stokes Self-Confidence in Refugee Women Refugee women are at heightened risk for gender-based violence during the difficult experience of forced displacement. In Jordan, one group is getting a chance to learn self-defense a "SheFighter" technique that also focusses on building the women's self-esteem.
Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who won the prestigious 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for her extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, has been included in the top 10 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016. She has been widely recognised for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in Pakistan - while herself overcoming the struggles of life in exile.
KULE REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia - Before the war came and she and her family fled, Nyahok Reath loved watching United Nations aid planes taking off from the airport near her home in South Sudan. The 13-year-old decided she would do all she could to become a pilot.