Women of the World Founder and Executive Director, Samira Harnish, gave a Women of the Mountains Speech on the exploitation of refugee women at each stage of their journey to Utah: escaping from war and violence, refugee camps, and resettlement.
In addition to the devastating physical and mental trauma that occurs as a result of war and time in refugee camps, refugee women in Utah continue to face exploitation in their new lives in Utah.
Refugees are exploited as their children learn English before their parents and they and their friends take advantage of this role reversal, often joining gangs, having unwanted pregnancies, or getting into legal trouble. Another source of exploitation involves the bureaucracy they face in navigating immigration or the social safety net. Finally, poverty and those that would prey on the less fortunate can be ruinous on refugee women who do not know their rights and are afraid of being sent back to camps.
In order to continue to overcome the exploitation of refugee women, we must work hard at all times to protecting our ladies’ human rights, help them heal, and enable their self-reliance.
Women of the World would like to thank the Women of the Mountains Conference for inviting us to speak and explain the causes of exploitation and how our programs: Customized Service, Practical English, and Economic Empowerment are helping to overcome it.