Getting the facts straight

Women standing infront of window c. LSHTM
Migrant women – twice as likely to experience violence

We’ve been told that violence against women is common. In fact, we’ve been told that it is very common—so common that the UK and the EU have come up with specific strategies on ‘Violence against women’.

As a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) Gender Violence and Health Centre, I work specifically on the subject of violence against migrant women.  And I have to tell you that after over a decade of research with migrant women, I continue to wonder why when we’re told that we must all work together to protect women from physical, sexual and psychological abuse, most governments—and even rights advocates—seem to forget to mention how very, very, very vulnerable migrant women are to violence.

Migrant women – twice as likely to experience violence

When compared to non-migrant or local women—migrant women appear to be more than twice as likely to experience various forms of violence, such as domestic violence, rape, child sexual abuse and exploitation.

16 days of Action offers an opportunity to provide some of the evidence and results from our research concerning violence against migrant women and women who have been trafficked for forced sex work and our study with women who are seeking asylum.

Did you know that…..

  • 60 per cent of women who have been trafficked have experienced some form of violence, either physical or sexual abuse by a partner or non-partner or child sexual abuse, before they were trafficked?
  • More than six in ten asylum-seeking women have experienced either physical or sexual abuse by a partner or non-partner, or child sexual abuse, before they were trafficked?
  • Almost 50 percent of asylum-seeking women report having been a victim of sexual violence before seeking asylum?
  • 78 per cent of women who were trafficked for forced sex work were physically abused while in the trafficking situation and approximately half sustained physical injuries.

Take action

If you are a trafficked or asylum-seeking woman, perhaps this will help you understand that you are not alone—at all—in your experiences and help is available.

If you are a service provider, perhaps these facts will help you understand the situation of migrant women so that you can offer them appropriate advice and information.

If you are an advocate, perhaps you can use these statistics to push forward better policies and services specifically for migrant women. 

If you are working in the government, perhaps you can promote special responses for this very, very vulnerable group of women.

Find out more about the work of the LSHTM’s Gender Violence and Health Centre

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(1) Comments

  • Darckis
    11 February 2012, 11:44

    Thank you Ayeni..Violence aaignst women is everyone business, thus we all need to be pro-active

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