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13 Jan 2014

Generation I - Activities Update

Generation i is working alongside an Iraqi organization called Women For Peace (WFP) with its campaign to combat trafficking.  Violence and insecurity from the conflict has had a detrimental and lasting effect on women and young girls in Iraq. They have suffered from discrimination, physical violence and continuous human rights violations, including torture, loss of educational rights, expulsion from the workforce and public life, and even sexual slavery and rape. According to a 2011 Report on Trafficking in Persons, Iraqi women and girls are subjected to conditions of trafficking both in the country and in neighboring countries. Women are subjected to involuntary servitude through forced marriages, often as payment of a debt, and women who flee such marriages are often more vulnerable to being subjected to further forced labor or sexual servitude. Some women and children are forced by family members into prostitution to escape desperate economic circumstances, to pay debts, or to resolved disputes between families. Women between the ages of 15 and 22 are sold for anywhere between $1000 and $5000 USD and then replaced or sold again in two to three months. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation in temporary refugee situations. Some children are left by parents who leave in search of better economic circumstances and they go missing. To combat these different vulnerabilities, WFP employs a strategic, multi-faceted, multi-level program. They understand that if one area of the problem is targeted, impact is compromised. They begin with educational workshops for legal and judiciary experts so they will better understand- both Iraqi laws and international conventions and protocols that can applied within Iraq. They couple this education with a roundtable discussion that includes representatives from the Ministry of Women, lawyers, judges, sociologists and psychologists, local city council members and the media. There, they discuss the problem and provide written recommendations that are formulated around how government can provide more protection through enforcing laws, supporting social services or any standard systems used by local police to identify and refer trafficking victims to any kind of services. These recommendations are then presented to the government in Baghdad to bring to attention the areas that need action and leadership. WFP also provides legal assistance and even court representation to women that have been trafficked, and see them through their particular cases. Finally, the program produces a flyer campaign which is distributed in vulnerable areas so that young girls will understand their rights.
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