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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Violence against women
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.
Rohingya women living in Bangladesh are developing health problems, missing out on aid and are at greater risk of abuse due to unsafe and unsuitable facilities in many parts of the refugee camps, Oxfam warned today.
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.
Khin Khin shudders when she thinks about walking in the dark from her shelter to the shared toilet. "I never feel safe to go to the toilet at night," she said. In Myanmar, 1.5 million people have no toilet in their home or yard.
Following a visit to Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have settled in makeshift camps, a United Nations envoy has called for enhanced measures to protect and assist victims of sexual violence among the displaced population.
"My sister was killed after gang rape in front of me, and they threw hot water on my body," Fatima*, 30, told a case worker at a UNFPA-supported women-friendly space in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Almost 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border since 25 August, escaping brutal violence amid the escalating crisis in Myanmar's Rahkine State.
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.
Opening Remarks by UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the plenary session of the Five Days of Violence Prevention Conference at Johannesburg, South Africa
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.