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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Violence against women
In the wake of the migration crisis and other humanitarian emergencies, women and girls are experiencing unconscionable trauma. Gender-based violence – including child marriage and forced pregnancy – exploitation, and trafficking often escalate during conflict, threatening the lives and well-being of women and girls around the world. Women and children account for roughly 75 per cent of those displaced by conflict. About 20 per cent are women of reproductive age.
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.
Dalia Asinde was married 16 years ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was 22 and in love, she said. But her husband soon became violent - and relentless. She lost count of the beatings, insults and torments he delivered.
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.
"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.
Knowing the soldiers would soon return for her two eldest sons, Milly and her children fled the village of Opari, South Sudan, in December 2013, with the screams of neighbours and sounds of gunfire still ringing in their ears.
Handicap International today published its new report 'Everywhere the bombing followed us'. Based on a survey of 205 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in-depth interviews of 14 Syrian women refugees, the report reveals the multiple forced displacements caused by bombings. The report highlights the specific impact of destruction caused by these bombings on women.
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.