Trafficking

Poor women from Nepal, Bangladesh ending up in war-torn Syria as servants

Women sit under a tree in Lalitpur, Nepal. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

Poor women looking to earn a living and escape poverty in Bangladesh and Nepal are finding themselves in war-torn Syria as domestic servants and sometimes sex slaves, the victims of deceitful recruiters who charge women exorbitant prices in exchange for work abroad. According to a report in The Daily Beast, young women pay more than $3,000 to recruiters to find them work in other countries, which in the past included work in Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, but most recently has focused on Syria. Many of the young women who pay the fees have no idea a war has been going on in Syria for five years, and once they arrive in their new positions, must stay and work amid the violence in order to pay back the recruiting fees.

“With family members depending on them to send money, to feed them and pay expenses, but more urgently, make debt payments lest a money lender take their home from them, migrants are under huge pressure to pay back these debts,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, a human rights worker who documents the work-abroad program known as “Kafala.”

The women’s immigration to Syria has been largely undocumented, which makes it difficult for them to escape by traditional means of seeking asylum or requesting aid from an embassy, according to the report.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

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