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Women and Children are Being Forced to Have ‘Survival Sex’ In Exchange for Safe Passage to Foreign Nations

Women and Children are Being Forced to Have ‘Survival Sex’ In Exchange for Safe Passage to Foreign Nations

By Virginia Kruta for IJReview

Migrants traveling from war-torn Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are not strangers to either hardship or danger. Many are fleeing civil wars, the Taliban, or the expanding reach of ISIS.

They leave their homes knowing that they will likely face a rough crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, crowded into boats that may or may not be seaworthy with people they don’t know. And their destinations are just as uncertain.

More recent crossings have been further complicated by the weather. Refugees arriving on the Greek Island of Lesbos crashed through police barricades in order to get their children out of the driving rain.

But still they come, and in large numbers. It is estimated that nearly 50,000 migrants crossed into Europe from October 17-21, and 20,000 of those came through Lesbos.

Along with the dangers posed by weather and a general lack of supplies and food come the dangers associated with large groups of desperate people. Theft and trampling by other migrants is a concern, but it gets even worse.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released a statement:

“From testimony and reports we have received there have been instances of children engaging in survival sex to pay smugglers to continue their journey, either because they have run out money, or because they have been robbed.”

Those at greatest risk of being forced into “survival sex” – being sexually abused by authorities or human smugglers in exchange for safe passage – appear to be women and children who are traveling alone or who do not have money.

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