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Published on August 3rd, 2018 | by Roberta Mascaretti


IOM: Thousands at risk of trafficking amid Rohingya refugee crisis

IOM (the UN Migration Agency) counter trafficking experts have warned that thousands of people caught up in Rohingya refugee crisis are at risk of human trafficking, stressing that the scourge of exploitation can only be tackled if authorities, local and international agencies, and communities work together.

The call for a multi-actor approach to prevent more refugees and members of the host community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, from falling victim to traffickers, came after government officials, military and police representatives, and IOM trafficking experts, joined a rally and public meeting in the town on July 30 to mark World Day Against Human Trafficking.

Seventy-eight victims of trafficking have been identified and supported by IOM in Cox’s Bazar in the past ten months. Due to the complex and clandestine nature of the crime, it is recognised that this figure accounts for just a fraction of the true number of men, women and children trafficked during that period.

“While it is impossible to provide exact numbers due to the secretive nature of this crime, through our work with communities and authorities, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that thousands are at risk from all forms of trafficking,” said Dina Parmer, IOM’s head of protection in Cox’s Bazar.

According to Parmer, without access to proper livelihood opportunities, people frequently fall victim to exploitation while seeking labour for survival. Women and girls are at particular risk of trafficking into the sex trade and associated gender-based violence (GBV).

“Tackling this relies of a three-pronged approach of protection, prevention and prosecution. IOM is already working on all three areas in Cox’s Bazar and we will be working closely with the authorities to significantly increase activities over the coming months and in the longer term,” she said.

More information available here.

About the Author

Contributor - Human Rights Professional. Migration, Human Rights & Humanitarian Affairs Adviser [Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations] (2017-2018). International Advocacy Assistant [Save the Children Italy] (2017). Human Rights Liaison Unit Intern [UNHCR] (2016). International Affairs Officer [Expo Milano 2015] (2014-2016). Post-graduate Master in International Cooperation [Italian Institute for International Political Studies] (2013-2014). Email: robertavmascaretti@gmail.com

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