Tens of thousands of young Nigerian girls and women leave their country every year with sincere hopes of starting a brand-new life in Europe where they believe they will be met with ample job and educational opportunities to provide for their families. That is what they are often told by “recruiters” in their home states who seek out vulnerable girls (sometimes as young as ten) and women to leave for Europe. Unfortunately, the promises made to them by human traffickers are empty promises. In reality, four out of every five Nigerian girls and women who survive the long, harrowing journey to Europe will end up in the sex trade.
We often read about these stories in the news, but cannot adequately understand the harsh lives these girls and women endure at the hands of their traffickers. Essentially held in modern slavery, the women and girls have a debt placed upon them that they must pay off by prostituting themselves or else face dire consequences, sometimes fatal. Not only are they faced with threats by their Nigerian madams, they are also exploited in the streets where they are susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, rapes, and physical violence. Wanting to tell these stories, Austrian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai wrote and directed Joy, an award-winning drama that shows the harsh and complex realities of these women and girls’ lives as prostitutes.
Continue reading Netflix Movie Reveals Grim Reality of Nigeria to Europe Sex Trafficking
While visiting Haiti you will see that the United Nations’ presence is palpable across the country especially in the capital Port-au-Prince where the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is housed. During rush hour it is not uncommon to see countless UN vehicles with peacekeepers and leaders in berets (mostly men) among the many motos and cars driven by locals, buses, and NGO SUVs.
Haiti is also the Western hemisphere’s poorest country. That is not to be taken lightly. Poverty is rife and the need for everyday necessities is huge. It isn’t surprising, then, to read that UN peacekeepers are accused of engaging in transactional sex with hundreds of both rural and urban Haitian women in exchange for food, medicines, mobile phones, and money. It also isn’t uncommon for women to become pregnant during this transactional sex as reported by PRI in “Haitian moms demand UN help for the babies their peackeepers left behind.”
Continue reading Report – UN Peacekeepers Engage in Sex Exploitation in Haiti
An international expert panel of leaders convened today in New York City to launch the Code Blue campaign demanding an end to sexual abuses by UN peacekeeping forces and the automatic immunity they are afforded when abuses occur.
In recent weeks a scathing, formerly classified, report: Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces, was leaked revealing French peacekeeper soldiers sexually abused boys as young as nine during their Central African Republic Sangris operation between December 2013 and June 2014. The report, which was ultimately leaked by a senior UN aid worker and director of operations, Anders Kompass, states that mostly homeless and orphaned boys were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation, including sodomy and rape, by French peacekeepers occurred in exchange for food and money. The abuses allegedly occurred at the renown M’Poko airport in Bangui where thousands retreated to relative safety during the height of the ethnic violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic’s near genocide.
Kompass was subsequently disciplined for breaking UN protocols. Meanwhile, the report was first leaked in July of 2014 and stagnated until it was revealed recently by AIDS-Free World.
The UN, however, contends the peacekeeping soldiers in question are not a part of their operations. “The forces referred to in the Guardian story are French and do not fall under UN authority,” says a UN official. “The issue of confronting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel remains one of our highest priorities.”
Continue reading Expert Panel Draws Up International Code in Response to Reported Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse