Archive for July 2nd, 2012

02/07/2012

Lesotho: ‘Traffickers Prey on Desperate Job Seekers’

Human Wrongs Watch

Quthing, (IRIN*) – At the age of 15 and with no money for school shoes or a uniform, Linda* was forced to accept that her education was over and it was time to look for a job. In Lesotho’s southern Quthing District, where she lived, it is accepted wisdom that finding a job means crossing the border into South Africa, which completely surrounds this mountainous kingdom of 1.8 million people and dwarfs its tiny economy.

***Photo: Mujahid Safodien/IRIN. Linda and Mahleki were trafficked by a woman they knew from their village

Linda’s own mother made the move five years ago and never returned. “I don’t know where she is,” said Linda, whose sister also lives in South Africa.

In May 2011, Linda was approached by a woman she knew from her village who had a business about 50km across the border in the town of Sterkspruit. “She invited me to come and stay with her and work for her as a shop assistant,” recalled Linda.

She did not question why she and her new employer had to cross a freezing river to enter South Africa instead of using the nearest border post, and for the first three months she was treated well enough and received a small salary.

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02/07/2012

Côte d’Ivoire: Stuck Between Refuge and the Risk of Attacks

Human Wrongs Watch

TAI/PARA, (IRIN*)– Intermittent violence and widespread insecurity have left thousands of villagers in western Côte d’Ivoire stuck between fleeing their villages for the greater safety of refuge with host families in bigger towns, and the risk of being attacked if they return to the farms where they earn their livelihood.

**Photo: Olivier Monnier/IRIN – An Ivorian soldier patrolling in Saho village in the west of the country. The region is plagued by recurrent violence.

“It’s the same thing every time. We hear gunfire, we take the kids with us, walk in the bush all night long to reach Tai [town]. Once there, after two or three days, we are told the situation has calmed down, so we go back – and it starts again,” said Nathalie Kouakou.

In early June she and her entire family fled from their home in Tiele-Oula village, around 20km from Tai town, which has been attacked at least six times in the past 10 months. “I’m tired of it,” Kouakou told IRIN.

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