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Every year, tens of thousands of people are trafficked across and within national borders. While men and boys tend to be trafficked into forced labour, women and girls tend to be trafficked into forced sex. 225,000 victims of trafficking were identified between 2003 and 2016 worldwide, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Although Salma, Walaa and Farah, the 12 - 13 year old girls were victims of trafficking in Iraq and Jordan by the same perpetrator, each of them had a different backstory that led her to this fate. One of them was sold by her parents so they can secure a living to the rest of the family, while the other two were promised jobs.

When the girls were trafficked by their perpetrator in Iraq to another in Jordan, the latter kept them in his house as forced sex victims for his clients, depriving them of their most basic rights.

One day, one of the girls was seriously injured during a forced sexual encounter. She was rushed to the hospital. There, the Combating Human Trafficking Unit in Jordan was informed. Hence, the trafficking network was discovered and the other two girls were saved. Upon her treatment, the girl was referred to one of Jordanian Women’s Union’s shelters - one of UNFPA’s implementing partners in Jordan. Consequently, legal consultations, psychosocial and health care were provided to the girls, in addition to following up their cases at the Combating Human Trafficking Unit.

“They took good care of us at the shelter. They provided us with everything we needed. Now, I feel safe, especially that the perpetrator has been given the punishment he deserves.”

said Salma upon receiving care from Jordanian Women’s Union.

At the end, all three girls decided to return to their country, Iraq. This time however, they will start a fresh new chapter, one that is filled with hope, the freedom of choice and living with dignity.