Association ESE


   Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women.




A Gender Perspective on Aggravated Migrant Smuggling

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Sexual violence is an unfortunate common feature of all smuggling routes that affects female migrants in a much larger proportion than men. It is inflicted as a form of retaliation for alleged misconduct or by lack of other means, as a form of payment, where women are coerced into sexual services in order to pay for transportation or bribes. As reported to the UNODC Observatory on Migrant Smuggling by a case worker in West Africa “women can use sex as a currency to pay their smugglers or kidnappers and move on”1 and a law enforcement officer ”kickbacks and sex-for-passage (usually affecting women and girls), have been the most common types of bribery along the smuggling corridor” Generally, the analysis suggests that, due to a variety of gendered factors, women are more likely to be short of money earlier and more frequently during the migration process, making them more vulnerable to sexual abuse to compensate with in-kind payment in the form of what the Study refers to as “transactional rape”.

Sexual violence is also perpetrated for no purpose other than a demonstration of power, misogyny, racism or sexual gratification. The Study also highlights the impact of sexual violence on women and girls and the social and medical consequences of abuses such as unwanted pregnancies and abortion that may be difficult to address on the move. Sexual violence could also be used as a means to coerce fellow migrants who are forced to witness the rape of travel companions, while at times technology is being used to perpetuate the victimization and stigmatization by the broadcasting of material depicting sexual violence among the community of the victim.

Source: WUNRN – 18.08.2021



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