Human Traffic Watch

NOT FOR SALE: THE STATE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN SYRIA

In Awareness, Human Trafficking on August 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

As Syria continues its descent deeper into civil war, the situation in the Arab nation continues to dominate headlines across the globe. While politicians debate the best course of action and issue warnings of escalated forms of warfare, human trafficking in the region has gone largely unreported.

Syria itself was recently ‘blacklisted’ by the US government, dropping from a Tier 2 (watch list) to Tier 3 country in the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). Generally speaking, a Tier 3 country ‘does not fully comply with the minimum standards [of human trafficking prevention, protection of victims and prosecution of traffickers] and [is] not making significant efforts to do so’. Specifically, Syria is a source country of girls who travel to neighboring Lebanon and are forced to work in prostitution. Within the country, dire economic situations had led to children engaged in forced labor and forced begging in the past. It is difficult to know now, amidst the hostilities, how street begging rings operate. However, where the unawareness of human trafficking is currently most detrimental lies in those who are trafficked into Syria.

The conflict-ridden country also happens to be a transit country for women and girls from Iraq, the Philippines, Indonesia and Ethiopia. In being a transit country, many are eventually trafficked into Lebanon and Jordan. However, those who stay are often found in debt bondage, working as house maids or in prostitution. According to the International Trade Union Confederation, even as the conflict has continued to rage, the amount of Filipino workers has not significantly decreased. The Manilla Times reported in April that the Philippines Government is trying to bring home as many as 9,000 Filipino women. Many are trapped inside cities that are under siege, such as Homs and Hama. With no formal government in place in Syria, the negotiation of rescuing Filipino nationals is a next to impossible task. As violence now spreads into parts of Lebanon, a deeper turn into turmoil could well see more foreign nationals in similar situations become ever more susceptible to trafficking across the region.

Source: Not for Sale

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