Published On: Tue, Jan 8th, 2019

UN Report: Slaves As A Reward For Fighters

Armed groups use human trafficking as a strategy in wars: children are forced to work in camps, women are abused as sex slaves.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha

Nadia Murad, the young Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has suffered exactly what the latest report from the Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) statistically unrolls on about 90 pages: The Jesidin from northern Iraq was Islamic activists in 2014 by militants of the Islamic fundamentalist militia State has been abducted, enslaved and forced into prostitution. She is a victim of human trafficking Рand became the United Nations Special Envoy for the Dignity of Survivors. Last year she even received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nadia Murad’s story of suffering corresponds to the pattern that the authors of the most recent report presented on Monday in Vienna. It analyzes documented human trafficking cases and links statistical data from 142 countries worldwide.

Particularly striking fact was that in the conflict zones and in war zones armed groups use human trafficking as a strategy. Above all, they recruit children, who are then not only trained to fight, but also forced to work in the camps. They have to take care of the daily operation, work in the kitchen or do other services. Examples include the Congo, the Central African Republic, but also countries in Asia or the Middle East. Especially in southern Africa, it often happens that armed groups sell children to the mining industry to finance their bloody wars.

In addition, armed groups use human trafficking as a vehicle to underpin their territorial dominance. Afraid of being kidnapped, the local population keeps quiet and prefers to cooperate with the gunmen. Women and girls are abused as sex slaves and also forced into marriages – as an incentive for new male recruits or as a reward for soldiers. That’s how Nadia Murad got it.

In addition, armed gangs also exploit conflict situations in order to recruit refugees into camps or along escape routes and to force them to do sex or slave labor. Especially often refugees from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan are affected. In Libya, for example, refugee camps are often under the control of militia working directly with criminals and exploiting refugees.

In 2016, 254,000 people worldwide were victims of trafficking – but these are just the documented cases. United Nations estimates assume 2.7 million people worldwide. There are several reasons why the number is rising steadily: the global problem itself has received much more attention over the years and is therefore more often recognized as such. In addition, more and more data is available, making the topic tangible.

Basically, women and girls make up around 70 percent of the cases documented worldwide in 2016. The purpose: sexual exploitation in Europe and America. Regionally, however, there are major differences around the world: in southern Africa, children are the victims of traffickers (55 percent), and equally of girls and boys. This is mainly about work exploitation in one’s own country. Minors toil in households, on plantations or in mining. In Asia and the Pacific region, it is above all men who are forced to work.

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