As the conflict in Marawi continues to escalate, refugees fleeing the fighting could face additional abuse in evacuation centers. Church and human rights groups are warning that women and children are at risk for abuse, kidnapping, and trafficking in centers. Male refugees or residents are likely responsible for such abuse. It is critical that displaced women and children are not exploited as they are fleeing their homes because of the Marawi conflict.
07/07/2017 Philippines (UCA News) – Church and rights groups warned against possible abuses in evacuation centers as the conflict in the southern Philippines continues.
The non-government Center for Women’s Resources said displaced women and children are vulnerable to abuses in the centers.
Cham Perez, the center’s research head, called on the government to address the crisis “proactively,” adding that women and children can fall victims to trafficking and illegal recruitment.
Perez cited cases of abuse in the aftermath of the 2013 siege in the city of Zamboanga, also in Mindanao, where displaced women were reportedly forced to engage in “sex for money.”
At least half of the more than 400,000 refugees from the city of Marawi are women.