Muslims are very sensitive with the many issues surrounding them. So why is it that thousands of Muslim Rohingya women and girls are trafficked into sex industry by Muslim men in Bangladesh and many are immune to the situation, along with the rest of the world’s population?
The plight of hundreds of thousands Rohingya people is said to be the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 are thought to have left their homes in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar, fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape persecution that has been described by the UN as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
The majority of Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh have sought shelter in camps and makeshift settlements. According to the UNHCR, prior to August 2017, there were already approximately 307,500 Rohingya refugees living in refugee camps in the area, with a further 687,000 are estimated to have arrived since August 2017.
But rather than finding safety, many Rohingya refugees are instead becoming victims of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly women and girls between the ages of 13 and 17.
Networks of traffickers, pimps, brokers, and transporters are working both online and offline in Bangladesh in order to supply women and children for the sex industry.
And many of these predators and human traffickers have descended on the Rohingya refugee camps on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, with the aim of exploiting vulnerable and desperate women and children.
Within the chaos of the camps, there are countless opportunities for traffickers to recruit women and young girls, under the pretence of offering them an escape from their desperate situation.
The girls are lured in with the promise of a better life, with jobs abroad and in the capital Dhaka, working as maids, hotel staff, and kitchen workers. However, once they’ve accepted the job, the reality is very different. Rather than being taken to the new life they were promised, they are forced into prostitution.
A BBC News Investigation team, working alongside Foundation Sentinel, visited Bangladesh to investigate the networks behind this trade.
The BBC team posed as foreigners looking for sex with children, asking in small hotels and beach cottages if they could be put in contact with local pimps. The team was offered various girls who were said to be between 13 and 17 years of age. According to the report, the scale of the network and the number of girls available was striking – the team was told that, if they didn’t like the look of the girls in the photos, there were plenty more available.
And this is just one example, there are countless stories and doubtless many more untold.
The families in the Rohingya refugee camps find themselves in a desperate situation, with many girls torn between poverty and prostitution. The international community needs to act to protect the Rohingya and their children from abuse, trafficking, and exploitation.
On World Day, UN urges stronger action to shield millions from human trafficking ;