Rohingya refugee girls trafficked into prostitution

Young Rohingya girls are being trafficked into prostitution, a new investigation finds.

BBC News has revealed that women and teenage Rohingya girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are finding themselves drawn into prostitution and forced labour.

An undercover team interviewed numerous women and children who spoke of being lured into opportunities to work as maids or kitchen workers in Dhaka or in jobs further afield. Traffickers are said to offer families the illusion of a better life for their children. When asked, a number of parents hadn’t heard from their children and expected the worse. Some were otherwise content that they were seeking a better future away from the camps.

Posing as foreigners looking for sex, the undercover team approached local pimps about Rohingya girls.

They found that Rohingya girls were ‘the least desirable and the cheapest available’, when not with clients they lived with the pimp helping their family.

During the investigation, a sting operation was arranged with the Bangladeshi police. Working with Foundation Sentinel, an organisation assisting law enforcement on child exploitation, they were able to ensnare a pimp. After exchanging money for two girls, police and child protection professionals moved in arresting the pimp and taking the children into care.

When asked why they were involved, the girls explained that sex work was how they helped themselves and provided for their families.

As the investigation concluded, the team discovered an elaborate online and offline network of traffickers, brokers and facilitators to buy and sell women and young girls for sex. The sex industry in Bangladesh has seen an increase in supply of women and children because of the Rohingya crisis which has encouraged the price and demand to increase.

As our recent Snapshot Survey indicated, many children are bearing their family’s financial hardships by working, or kept indoors due to security concerns in the camps, instead of going to school.

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The Rohingya children trafficked for sex; BBC News;