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Trafficking and Conflict: Research/Action by the Caritas Network

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Sexual exploitation and trafficking of children are particularly common forms of trafficking in situations of armed conflict, and are among the best documented. The wars in former Yugoslavia and Kosovo exploded the numbers of trafficking, including in Western Europe, where there are many victims, including child victims of prostitution and sexual exploitation, forced begging or incitement to commit crimes. The sale of women, especially from ethnic minorities (Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek, etc.) by the Taliban, the use of child soldiers and sexual slavery by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, child trafficking to Indian brothels by the Nepalese Marxist guerrillas or, more recently, human trafficking by the Libyan armed factions are all examples of human trafficking linked to situations of armed conflict or post-armed conflict. The influx of Syrian refugees into neighboring countries (Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt) causes a particularly explosive situation. Besides the risk of inter-communal tensions (the influx of Syrian refugees Sunni breaks the fragile ethno-religious balance of Lebanon), the arrival of destitute Syrian refugees considerably increases the risk of trafficking in human beings. With the highest concentration of refugees per capita, Lebanon is the most affected by the repercussions of the Syrian conflict countries. UNHCR receives about 2,500 visitors a day, or 2 people per minute. As the country he took steps to limit the number of arrivals, the issuance of visas at the border of Masnaa for Syrians and Palestinians from Syria being suspended (they would now go through the Embassy of Lebanon to Damascus). Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in precarious conditions and suffer (physical and psychological) extremes; poor, undocumented, forced to leave their land and possessions, not knowing where to turn, they are easy prey for traffickers. The Internal Security Forces in Lebanon identified 27 victims of human trafficking in 2013 and 24 traffickers. In 2014, 24 victims and 24 traffickers were identified. Between 2009 and 2014, 118 victims were identified, of which 86 were Syrian (73%), 7 Lebanese (6%) and 25 victims from Eastern Europe (21%). Most cases involved girl victims of forced marriage and trafficking for sexual exploitation. These girls are often sold by their families - through the exchange of a dowry - mostly to wealthy Arab men, and then taken to the land of their new "husbands".

Photo credit: Lionel Charrier-Myop/Secours Catholique

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