Friday, February 2, 2018

"As the European migrant trail has gone underground, the threat of sexual violence has increased"

"When Simin reached Europe, she thought the hardest part of her journey was behind her. 

She left her native Iran, where she had lived all of her 44 years, because she feared being arrested for her work as a journalist. It took her three months to travel from Iran to Serbia, much of it by foot across mountains and borders.
But it was when she was crossing into Croatia that the worst happened. She was raped by two smugglers, themselves migrants, from Afghanistan.
“The smugglers forced me to be with them. He threatened to not let me get in the car if I refused being with him,” says Simin, who is living in a center for refugees on the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia.
“I had to do it. I was a woman alone — all on my own.”

A common story

Simin’s story is one of many similar accounts from women who have traveled the European migrant trail since the crisis began in 2015.
Rights groups say women face assault, harassment and sexual violence at every step of the way along the trail, including on European soil.
And there are signs that the environment for attacks against women along the route has only worsened since the height of the crisis. European countries have closed their borders and pushed the trail underground, putting women at greater risk than ever before.  
Many sexual crimes go unreported due to the precarious legal status of the victims as they cross borders and try to avoid authorities. And even when women do report incidents they have little hope of justice, for the same reason.
Read more from source at PRI, here.

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