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IOM Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response - Situation Overview of Human Trafficking, October 2018

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Situation Report
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KEY HIGHLIGHTS

99 cases of trafficking and exploitation have been identified and directly assisted by 10M and partners, including 35 girls, 31 women, 8 boys and 25 men*

*Figures include cases identified and assisted until September 2018.

SITUATION UPDATE

Since 25 August 2017, an estimated 708,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State, increasing the total Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar to more than 921,000. New arrivals are living in spontaneous settlements and are in need of humanitarian assistance. The challenges faced by both the Rohingya refugees and the host communities as well as a lack of general awareness of the risks associated with human trafficking in the camps have created favorable conditions for criminal networks to strengthen their presence and expand recruitment. Protection is integral to the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis Response and addressing protection needs ensures the well-being and safety of the most vulnerable in the population.

Between September 2017 and September 2018, 10M Counter-Trafficking Programme in Cox's Bazar has identified 99 cases of trafficked and exploited Rohingya, including 26 women, 31 underage girls, 25 men and four underage boys under forced labour. A total of nine females (including four underage girls) have been found to be sexually exploited, while four people did not experience exploitation because they were able to leave/run away before the actual exploitation occurred. While the number of confirmed cases is not representative, mainly due to the limited access to reliable data, 10M confirms that Rohingya children, women, and men are targets for fraudulent recruitment, abduction, forced prostitution, debt bondage, abusive working conditions, and forced labour. IOM's research methodology consisted of interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with more than 280 Rohingya (children, women, men) and local authorities conducted in four locations (Shamlapur host community and Leda, Kutupalong and Balukhall camps) over a 4-month period. Additional information was collected through consultations with local NGOs, media and other actors present on the ground.

With almost no alternative sources of income or livelihood opportunities, Rohingya refugees are often willing to take whatever options are available, despite the risks involved for them and their children. The trafficking cases were reported to 10M or through partners by Rohingya with varying arrival dates in Bangladesh, including Rohingya who have lived in Bangladesh for several years as well as by those who have arrived since August 2017. Some Rohingya were targeted by traffickers on arrival.