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«Action for the Rights of Children (ARC) Critical Issues Abuse and Exploitation CONTENTS BRIEFING NOTES FOR FACILITATORS Page Introduction Topic 1: ...»

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Sometime after her return to Liberia, Madame X travelled to Danane in Northern Côte d’Ivoire where there was an enormous refugee population. In a short time it became apparent that the leadership of the refugee population in Danane was strong and would not tolerate irregular behaviour. Madame X returned to Liberia and then travelled to Tabou an area populated by many thousands of refugees through the South East of Liberia.

Once in Tabou she started to make contact with Liberian refugee girls aged between 14 and 18. Most of the girls had lost their parents, either in attacks or when fleeing Liberia. Many of them were living in groups or with people who had taken them in. At first the girls trusted Madame X and were glad to see her. Many of them had known her in Liberia or knew of her reputation as a social worker.

Many of the girls called her Aunt and it was not difficult for her to persuade them to agree to pretend to be her nieces and other relatives when asked.

________________________________________

Abuse and Exploitation - Revision Version 04/01 Page 97 Action for the Rights of Children (ARC) Using her standing in the community as “mother” and “Aunt” it was possible to start her activities in Tabou without raising any suspicions. Using her reputation as a social worker she set up a centre for unaccompanied girls and claimed that legitimate activities were happening there. In fact the centre was constructed with booth like rooms and a list of client prices was drawn up and the girls were forced into prostitution. The girls were not paid for their services but were told that they were being “looked after” by their mother and working for their keep. They received clothes, make-up, food and occasionally a little money. Some of the girls were additionally sent out during the day to work in domestic service for families of foreigners in the area who felt they were helping the girls from the centre by providing them with income generating work.

After some time, the community in Tabou became worried and went to the UNHCR office to report on Madame X’s activities. UNHCR made investigations but found it hard at first to reveal the true nature of what was happening. However, it was revealed that some of the girls had run away, others had become pregnant, some had gone with their “partners” and many had nowhere to go.

Despite the fact that she was arrested, Madame X managed to get free and was last heard of in Liberia.

Questions

1. What combination of circumstances led to the abuse of the children at the “girls centre”?

2. What could have been done to prevent the exploitation occurring in the first place, and what could have been done to stop it early on?

–  –  –

TARGET GROUP

Senior Managers, Sector Co-ordinators, Field Staff.

OBJECTIVE

By the end of this exercise, participants will be able to:

• to initiate a preliminary discussion about the international and national legal and other instruments that might be used to protect refugees from labour and sexual exploitation.

TIMEFRAME 10 minutes in small groups 20 minutes large group discussion 30 minutes if you do the exercise in plenary METHOD This can be done in small groups or as a plenary exercise. If the number of participants is above 10 then break up into smaller groups.

Select a sample of the questions, DON’T use them all. Either write the selected questions onto a flipchart or if working in a large group read them out as the discussion progresses If you break into small groups then each group should feed back into the large group. The points from all groups can then be discussed.

RESOURCES Flipchart paper and marker pens.

QUESTIONS

1. Which international laws are relevant to protecting refugee children and adolescents from exploitative labour?

2. Are their regional laws, national laws, or customary laws which address these issues?

–  –  –

3. How has the government of the country of asylum protected children and adolescents from exploitative labour? Have the same standards been enforced for refugee children and adolescents?

4. How can NGOs and UNHCR best use these legal tools and instruments to protect children in your region?

5. What types of concerns do you think would prevent victims from taking legal action?

–  –  –

TARGET GROUP

Sector Co-ordinators, Field Staff.

OBJECTIVE

By the end of this exercise, participants will be able to:

• to look at the potential for sexual exploitation in transit camps and how the law might be used in this type of situation.

TIMEFRAME 10 minutes groups 20 minutes plenary METHOD Put participants into small groups, give them flip chart pages and pens and invite them to read the case study in the Participant’s Notes. Give them 5 minutes to

read it and then ask them to give answers to:

How could have the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Refugee Children Guidelines on Protection and Care been used to intervene on Brigitta' s behalf to stop the exploitation and minimise her vulnerability?

Each group to then feedback into the plenary and discuss the points made.





RESOURCES A copy of the Participant’s Notes for each participant.

Flipchart paper and marker pens.

–  –  –

Take 5 minutes to read the following case study, discuss fully and then list on flip chart pages the answer to the question at the end.

Brigitta was 10 year old when she arrived in her first refugee camp in Northern Croatia from Banja Luka, Bosnia. Her mother left home when she was a baby and she was raised solely by her elderly father who was sick with severe asthma. At a very young age she was forced to assume all household domestic duties and was never allowed to attend any formal schooling. She could neither read nor write.

When the Serbian forces invaded Banja Luka in 1993 die fell victim to the infamous "rape camps" and was raped brutally by Serbian soldiers. Following this invasion, Brigitta managed to escape from Banja Luka with her father to a large refugee camp in Northern Croatia. Shortly after she arrived in Croatia Brigitta became extremely introverted and refused to speak. She cut off all of her long hair and refused to leave the tent where she was living. One night while her father was in the hospital for his asthma she was gang-raped by two fellow refugee men who were also in the camp with her. When her father returned the next day he scolded Brigitta for not being “more careful” and with the help of a local NGO they were transferred to another refugee camp on a remote Croatian island. When Brigitta arrived on the island she appeared to be developmentally impaired, unable to grasp basic concepts or communicate her thoughts. When the other refugee children asked where she was from she just looked at them blankly and said she couldn't remember. Despite her adolescent physical appearance she demonstrated the mental capacity of a young child. She was persuaded by the NGO staff to attend the school but she quickly dropped out after the young children taunted her for not knowing how to spell her name. Although some volunteers offered to tutor her privately she appeared depressed, distracted and uninterested during the sessions.

Within a matter of weeks on the island, Brigitta was befriended by a 50 year old male refugee in the camp. He became friendly with her father and offered to "watch" Brigitta when her father went for medical treatment on the mainland once a week. It soon became apparent that the man and Brigitta were involved in a sexual relationship, as she emerged from his tent with his pants unzipped and her blouse unbuttoned almost daily. Before too long, it became known that her father was aware of the relationship and condoned it since the man brought him cigarettes, soap and coffee regularly.

As the relationship became more explicit the man was warned by island police authorities to stay away from Brigitta. This however only forced their relationship to become more clandestine, Brigitta referred to the man as "her friend” and seemed unable to understand the problem with their ''friendship'' and the ''games'' ________________________________________

Abuse and Exploitation - Revision Version 04/01 Page 102 Action for the Rights of Children (ARC) he taught her to play. Over a period of 2 months Brigitta put on a considerable amount of weight and one of the NGO clinic staff requested that she secretly be brought in for a pregnancy test. The staff member was concerned that Brigitta's father might hurt her if he found out she was pregnant. Brigitta tested negative for pregnancy but positive for a venereal disease despite the fact that she insisted she never had sexual intercourse. When asked if she knew what it meant to be pregnant she simply looked confused and shook her head "No". Within a matter of weeks Brigitta and her father applied to be transferred to another camp in Croatia, in the hope of being repatriated into Bosnia.

How could have the Convention on the Right of the Child and the Refugee Children Guidelines on Protection and Care been used to intervene on Brigitta' s behalf to stop the exploitation and minimise her vulnerability?

Record these on a flip chart.

–  –  –

TARGET AUDIENCE

Senior Managers, Sector Co-ordinators, Field Staff.

OBJECTIVES

By the end of this exercise, participants will be able to:

• describe how refugees may become vulnerable to exploitation during flight;

• generate options for managing the different potential points of vulnerability.

TIMEFRAME 45 minutes METHOD In small groups ask participants to list examples of interactions between adults and children which may expose children to a particular form of exploitation during different stages of the refugee experience.

Then ask them to describe how each stage of flight affected their level of vulnerability?

Discuss and review the lists in the large group.

In small groups get participants to list strategies that could reduce the possibilities of exploitation at the various stages of flight.

Discuss and review the lists in the large group.

TARGET GROUP

Sector Co-ordinators, Field Staff.

OBJECTIVES

By the end of this exercise, participants will be able to:

• use a framework for analysing a situation in which sexual exploitation is widespread;

• develop a preventive strategy.

TIMEFRAME 45 minutes small group discussion 20 - 30 minutes plenary discussion METHOD Participants are invited to read the case study and discuss the questions at the end of it. If appropriate, the case study (with amendments if necessary) can be related to a refugee situation relevant to the participants’ experiences. Facilitators may wish to consider using this exercise in conjunction with the ARC Resource Pack on Situation Analysis (notably Topics 3 and 4).

RESOURCES Flip charts and pens.

–  –  –

TARGET GROUP

Sector Co-ordinators, Field Staff.

OBJECTIVES

By the end of this exercise, you will be able to:

• use a framework for analysing a situation in which sexual exploitation is widespread;

• develop a preventive strategy.

TIMEFRAME 45 minutes in small groups 20 - 30 minutes feedback to large group METHOD Read the attached case study and discuss the questions at the end of it.

CASE STUDY: SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND EARLY MARRIAGE

In a refugee camp of some 20,000 people, staff of an international NGO started to become concerned at the escalating number of early marriages: frequently girls as young as 12 and 13 were being married by boys in their teens. The camp houses refugees who fled from the civil war in a neighbouring country in which civilians were indiscriminately attacked, women and girls raped and people of all ages abducted into guerrilla forces.

Informal discussions with community leaders and young people themselves have

revealed the following information:

• there has been a widespread breakdown in social norms and values, and this applies particularly in relation to sexual behaviour. There is widespread fear and some suggestion that girls and women are trading sex for protection.

• humanitarian staff have been implicated in a number of instances of sexual exploitation of refugee girls.

• there is a significant number of adolescents living on their own or in small groups.

________________________________________

Abuse and Exploitation - Revision Version 04/01 Page 106 Action for the Rights of Children (ARC)

• many young girls have been coerced into sexual relationships by adolescent boys and there has been a widespread sense of parental inability to control the situation. There are indications of a generalised feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness to change the situation.

• in response to the high level of sexual activity among young people, many community leaders have encouraged the formalisation of sexual relationships into de facto marriages, despite the fact that many parents have been reluctant to agree to this.

• there is some likelihood of organised repatriation within the foreseeable future.

There are rumours that land may be allocated to “households” and that this may have encouraged some families to see their adolescent children married off in order to benefit from this.

• although there are primary schools in the camp, provisions for secondary and vocational education are very limited. Hence there are many adolescents with nothing to do, and there are virtually no opportunities for paid work in the area.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. On the basis of the above information, and considering it from the point of view of concerned agencies (including a children’s rights international NGO and UNHCR), try to define the preventive problem(s) which need to be addressed.



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