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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The border between Bangladesh and Myanmar is the site of the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. Over 620,000 Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Rakhine State in Myanmar have arrived in Cox's Bazar District in just three months. With more refugees arriving every day, settlements are overflowing.
Human trafficking and exploitation are rife among Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to seek safety in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, according to interviews and community focus groups conducted in the district's makeshift settlements by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.
Myanmar Rohingya abuses may be crimes against humanity, UN rights experts warn CEDAW and CRC have called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence in Rakhine, and to promptly and effectively investigate and vigorously prosecute cases of violence against women and children.
Warning that the horrific accounts of rape and sexual assault against Rohingya women and girls fleeing unrest in Myanmar could be "just the tip of the iceberg," the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) underscored the need to ensure that such violence is prevented and called for additional resources so that it can reach all those in need of assistance.
The international community must do more to end the inhumane practice of human trafficking and protect migrants and refugees - particularly young people, women and children - from those who attempt to exploit their opportunity for a better future, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging all nations to recognize their responsibility in combating the global scourge.