Human Traffickers Prey on Syrian Refugees

APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon Syria Refugee Children

Where there are war torn areas and people scavenging for survival, there is a lack of hope and a huge vulnerability that traffickers use to their advantage.  Many refugee people are forced into human trafficking.

In Lebanon, there are 600,000 Syrian refugee children, causing 85% of children to work there on less than a dollar a day.  There are various forms of labor trafficking that put children’s lives at risk.  They work in hazardous conditions, such as young children handling garlic while bending over with their hands in water all day long during even the cold seasons.  [1]

In Turkey, Syrian refugee girls aged 15-20 are being sold as brides and prostitutes.  Gangs will hang out in the terminals waiting to find women to lure into sexual exploitation, feeding off their desperation. If a woman or girl is found crossing the border illegally, these gangs find it easier to take them since there is no documentation of them existing in their country anyway.  They force them into prostitution and pornography acts.  “Syrian refugees are being offered between 20-50 Turkish liras, amounting to an estimated US $7-$18, for their ‘services.'” [6]

“Some Syrian parents are tricked into sending their daughters to what they believe is a better life in Turkey for somewhere between $700-$1,700, but as Abdulhalim Yilmaz, head of Mazlumder’s Refugee Commission pointed out, often times the girls are trafficked into polygamous marriages by Turkish men.” Polygamy is illegal in Turkey. [2]

“Last August, in Aleppo, Mafe Zafur, 15, married her cousin Ibrahim Zafur in an Islamic marriage. The couple moved to Turkey, but the marriage ended after six months, when her husband abruptly threw out of their home. With nowhere to sleep, Mafe found shelter with her brother, 19, and another cousin, 14, in an abandoned truck.  On 8 March, Mafe killed herself, reportedly with a shotgun. Her only possession, found in her pocket, was her handwritten marriage certificate.” [3]
refugeeterminal

Syrian and Afghani refugee male teens and men who enter into Greece without money to buy even food, become so angry at the little help they have received, that they start to sell themselves sexually.  Most of these refugees originally came in after struggling to survive beforehand in Turkey, hoping for a better life in Greece. [4]

These refugees never wanted to leave their homes, but when their homes were destroyed and lives were more likely to end in their home country, they hoped for a better life, only to find their lives are continually being stripped away.  They are devalued.  Many Syrians who had good jobs or were in schools studying for their futures are now being looked down upon, turned away from having good jobs, and are being told they are not good enough simply because they are a refugee, are Muslim, or are Kurdish. [5]

You can donate money to help refugees through organizations like World Vision, UNICEF, World Help, International Rescue Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Muslim Aid, Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, The UN Refugee Agency, Islamic Relief USA, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, and American Refugee Crisis Response.

photo credit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7

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