USAID's Economic Support in ChadIn Chad, extreme flooding has caused a massive amount of damage, affecting over 1 million people across the nation. On December 14, 2022, USAID announced that it will be providing an additional $2.5 million in financial support, building on the initial amount of $100,000.

Flooding in Chad

Many countries in Africa are challenged by dry weather conditions and therefore struggle to find resources of water. However, in Chad, heavy rainfall is common in several regions due to the equatorial location of the country. In 2022, it recorded the, “heaviest rainfall in the past 30 years, resulting in rivers overflowing, rupturing the dikes.” This led to extreme flooding in the latter half of the year, affecting 200,000 households by October 31. Rivers running through the country’s most populated regions have a tendency to overflow in times of extreme rainfall, drastically affecting nearby towns.

Damages and Lasting Consequences

On October 19, 2022, Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in reaction to this extreme flooding. At this point, floods destroyed 465,030 hectares of farmland. The destruction of fertile land is a drastic consequence, especially due to the fact that Chad had already been suffering from severe food insecurity. In addition to this, “16,756 households had to flee their homes.” In total, more than 1 million people have been affected in 18 out of Chad’s 23 provinces, according to UNICEF Situation Report.

Inadequate Funding

As a result of the flooding, Chad is in desperate need of humanitarian assistance to support citizens in their time of distress. This funding is necessary for food, housing, and health support on the ground. Because of this, Chad’s government called for additional economic assistance from outside actors.

USAID Economic Support in Chad

At the beginning of the flood, USAID provided $100,000 in support of the country’s relief efforts. However, as the damages continued, it became clear that economic support in Chad was needed to a larger extent. On December 14, 2022, USAID announced that it would provide an additional $2.5 million. In conjunction with UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), this assistance will be able to act as a multifaceted humanitarian effort. The press release states that “This assistance will support broader response efforts providing flood-affected families with cash-based transfers, mental health and psychosocial support services, relief items, shelter supplies, and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance.”

During 2022 alone, USAID’s economic support in Chad reached $73.6 million. This type of funding, coupled with the emergency funding in reaction to the flood, has been able to better the quality of life for those in a struggling country and support them in a time of need.

Overall, economic humanitarian assistance is important to aid countries in states of distress. USAID’s economic support in Chad is an excellent example of the importance of monetary support and has helped the country react to dangerous conditions produced by flooding. This support will lessen the drastic consequences of the flood and allow the country to aid its inhabitants as well as rebuild in the future.

– Hailey Dooley
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Human Trafficking in Moldova
Human trafficking in Moldova is a particularly serious issue that corruption and the coronavirus pandemic have worsened. The U.S. State Department assigns different tiers to countries in its 2021 Trafficking in Persons report, with Tier 1 countries being the ones that have been most resistant to human trafficking through prosecution, prevention and protection for victims. Moldova is listed as a Tier 2 country.


Moldova’s classification demonstrates that the nation has taken steps to address the issues of human trafficking while not being entirely compliant with U.S. State Department guidelines. Moldova has begun “prosecuting more suspected traffickers, developing a new national referral mechanism (NRM), open[ed] a center for male trafficking victims, and commence[ed] construction of a center for child victims and witnesses of crime, including trafficking.” However, while human trafficking has been an interest of the Moldovan government, COVID-19 has severely undermined new prosecutorial programs as many state employees are “working remotely” and “In March 2020, the government closed courts and did not reopen them until June 2020.”

Secondly, corruption has been a significant limiting force to prosecutorial and preventative efforts. Specifically, even though government employees had received accusations of complicity in human trafficking, the government did not investigate or prosecute anyone. Unfortunately, Moldova failed to meet various “minimum standards” that the State Department set, as authorities in Moldova have recently “investigated, convicted, and identified fewer trafficking victims overall.”

UN Aid and the Centre

Luckily, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has taken steps to protect Moldovan human trafficking victims and to aid them in reassembling their lives. Beginning in 2003, the IOM  implemented a “comprehensive Prevention and Protection Programme.” The primary agent of this mission is the Assistance and Protection Centre, which acts as a refuge center for trafficking victims. The Centre offers an incredible array of services to victims of human trafficking in Moldova, including medical, psychological, social, legal and recreational aid.

Personal Stories From the Centre

The IOM also presents a variety of personal stories relating to the Centre and gives examples of how donated funds may help aid victims. For instance, the IOM webpage on the Moldovan Centre relayed the story of Natalia, whose traffickers offered domestic work in Turkey before they kidnapped her and forced her into providing sexual services. The IOM also indicated how funds can help people like Natalia repair their lives, specifically in regard to obtaining copies of documents and relevant records necessary for employment and travel. The IOM also identified how funds can aid victims materially, specifying that “A donation of US $250 will buy clothes and shoes for a victim like Natalia.”

This type of assistance is especially significant considering that many of Moldova’s trafficking victims in the past have been young migrant women lured with fake passports from neighboring regions such as Romania and Ukraine, and the program previously installed to train Moldovan-Ukrainian border checkpoint officials to screen for signs of trafficking ended in 2016. Trafficking victims are not only often victims of poor migration infrastructure but also of prejudice, as “The undocumented or stateless population, including the Romani community,” are especially at risk.

The 2022 Trafficking in Persons report on Moldova concludes that of 312 identified trafficking victims, traffickers trafficked 277 for the purposes of forced labor, and the majority of victims were girls. Despite the limits of Moldovan intervention, the IOM reported fantastic results, claiming that it and the Centre aided 3,403 victims, including 337 children by the end of 2017. This is a noteworthy result as Moldova only reported “341 trafficking victims” in 2019.

Looking Ahead

Evidently, human trafficking in Moldova is a multifaceted issue without simple solutions, however, work that international organizations such as the IOM and its affiliated programs have provided helps victims of human trafficking in Moldova to recover a semblance of stability in their disrupted lives. Corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic have evidently hindered Moldova’s efforts to combat human trafficking, which demonstrates the necessity of international intervention through aid.

– Braden Hampton
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago 
As of the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, Trinidad and Tobago remains on the Tier 2 watch list for human trafficking. Refugees from Venezuela and other migrants from South America are the primary victims of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago, facilitated by members of the Trinidadian coast guard and customs office. The crisis in Venezuela has caused a large number of Venezuelan refugees to seek shelter, whether permanent or temporary, in Trinidad.

Cultural and language barriers make finding employment or housing incredibly difficult for refugees. This is making them prime victims of human trafficking schemes. Most commonly, traffickers sell these victims into sex slavery, “or forced labor in domestic service and the retail sector,” according to the U.S. Department of State.

Fortunately, the government is increasing its efforts to fight human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago. Between 2017 and 2020, the Counter Trafficking Unit in Trinidad has investigated 125 cases of human trafficking in total, with the majority of these being sex trafficking. Simultaneously, United Nations Agency IOM is aiding the government of Trinidad and Tobago in improving the lives of victims.

Government’s Efforts

The U.S. Department of State has identified Trinidad and Tobago as a Tier 2 watchlist country for human trafficking. Tier 2 watchlist countries are countries that, while not fully meeting the standards of the Trafficking Violence Protection Act to eliminate trafficking, are making significant efforts to do so.

In 2011, the government of Trinidad and Tobago passed the Trafficking in Persons Act. The act is criminalizing labor and sex trafficking with minimum sentences of 15 years, the U.S. Department of State reported. The government has prosecuted 14 traffickers since 2011, though the courts have not convicted a single trafficker under the law in that timespan. The government underwent legal system reforms in 2019 to address the backlog of cases. It opened five new courts with divisions specializing in human trafficking cases to make the system more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Trinidad and Tobago also created the Counter Trafficking Unit or CTU. It solely dedicates its time to investigating, stopping and prosecuting human trafficking in Trinidad. While this unit suffers from budget and personnel constraints, it still demonstrates a commitment to ending human trafficking.

Trinidad and Tobago improved its training and education for officers dealing with human trafficking. “The CTU produced a Pocket Guide for Frontline Officers” to aid in identifying victims of human trafficking, the U.S. Department of State reports. The government also implemented important, though limited, screening procedures for immigrants to identify those at high risk of human trafficking. By undergoing this screening, immigrants also gain access to programs such as translation services and English as a Second Language class.

United Nations Agency Efforts

The International Organization for Migrants, or IOM, is a United Nations Agency that provides services and advice to the government and migrants alike concerning migration. The IOM has been advocating and providing services to victims of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago for multiple years.

The IOM provides services including “accommodation, emergency assistance, medical health services, vocational training and psychosocial support.” In one case, the IOM even advocated for the release of a victim of human trafficking who was arrested after fleeing her captors.

Additionally, the IOM provides specialized help to foreigners who become victims of human trafficking. It is working to break down cultural and language barriers that prevent victims from receiving the help they need. The IOM has urged the government of Trinidad and Tobago to continue ramping up its efforts to fight human trafficking. It has also pledged its support and cooperation if needed.

Next Steps

In 2021, the U.S. Department of State published recommendations to the Trinidadian government in the fight against human trafficking in Trinidad, including:

  • Implementing further justice system reforms to work through case backlog.
  • Implementing an “anti-trafficking national action plan.
  • “Undertaking proactive victim identification, screening and protection among migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.”
  • “Improve cooperation between the CTU, prosecutors, judiciary and NGOs to increase the number of cases that proceed to trial.”
  • “Train law enforcement and prosecutors in proactively identifying, obtaining, preserving and corroborating evidence of trafficking.”

In implementing these reforms, the government can adequately protect both foreigners and nationals and prove it is serious about fighting human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago.

Human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago is a serious issue. Vulnerable refugees from Venezuela continue to come into the country in large numbers and traffickers continue to prey on them. Fortunately, with the help of the IOM, Trinidad and Tobago is working to fight this issue. There is no sign that the government will relax its response to trafficking, continuing to implement best practices and work to solve the problem.

– Benjamin Brown
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia that shares borders with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Afghanistan. It became independent after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991. According to Human Rights Watch, Turkmenistan remains a country that is partially isolated from the rest of the world due to its political and geographical situation. Human trafficking in Turkmenistan is a critical issue that requires urgent attention.

About Human Trafficking in Turkmenistan

Unfortunately, Turkmenistan does not completely satisfy the minimum requirements to eliminate the practice of human trafficking. As such, the U.S. Department of State designates Turkmenistan a Tier 3 country in 2021. According to the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human trafficking, Turkmenistan is among the 22 worst countries in the world for human trafficking. There is no official data regarding the exact number of human trafficking cases in Turkmenistan, but according to the report, trafficking hotlines received close to 8,000 calls from victims in 2019. However, according to Turkmenistan’s government, there were no “formally identified” human trafficking victims that year.

To combat human trafficking in Turkmenistan, the government has tried to solve the problem by implementing a national action plan that runs from 2020 to 2022. This action plan involves the government’s participation in anti-trafficking awareness campaigns while collaborating with international organizations to fight human trafficking within the country.

Preventative Measures

Most of the measures that the state carried out in cooperation with other NGOs have not led to significant improvements in the human trafficking situation. These measures have not stopped the use of forced labor force during the cotton harvest or in public works. Turkmenistan wished to create an anti-human trafficking committee that has not come to fruition yet. While the country managed to reduce some areas of human trafficking, the demand for forced labor still exists.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Turkmenistan government have carried out several campaigns in schools to raise awareness of human trafficking in the nation. Several organizations came together to assess the risk of human trafficking within the country. In addition, these organizations have also made efforts to monitor trafficking.

Measures to Protect Victims

The Turkmenistan government has been training officials in trafficking prevention and victim identification to ensure quicker and more efficient responses to incidents of trafficking. In addition, the government has allocated resources with the idea of eliminating the mobilization of children and adults for forced labor in the annual cotton harvest. The government has also launched several awareness campaigns to eliminate forced labor in other sectors.

Furthermore, the government funded the construction of shelters for trafficking victims, which the International Organization of Migration (IOM) operates. Although these measures have received several criticisms from international organizations for a lack of impact, the measures have served as a resource for local reintegration and job placement. In addition, the government and several NGOs put procedures in place to increase the efficacy and speed of victim identification.

How Victims Can Rebuild Their Lives

For victims, overcoming the trauma of human trafficking requires a lot of public support. Beginning in 2014, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been cooperating with the IOM and other local NGOs to reintegrate victims of human trafficking back into Turkmenistan society through an organization called Yenme. To achieve this, Yenme takes on a comprehensive approach to social reintegration by providing psychological and medical support to the victims along with legal assistance. This helps victims to rebuild their lives with optimism and hope. Data shows that 90% of victims who receive this aid end up becoming self-employed. In addition, victims attend workshops to acquire new skills that are useful in their future work.

Looking Ahead

Even with the new measures that Turkmenistan’s government implemented and the cooperation with various international organizations and local NGOs, ongoing commitments of time and effort are necessary to alleviate human trafficking. Hopefully, through the continued work of Turkmenistan’s government and NGOs, human trafficking in Turkmenistan will one day be a matter of the past.

– Ander Moreno
Photo: Flickr

Pandemic Refugees in the United States
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected refugees, causing a migration crisis and hindering equality among poor people. Millions of people have experienced displacement from their homes since the outbreak began. This massive displacement created a concentration of immigrants in urban areas seeking asylum. The term for these individuals is “pandemic refugees.” Pandemic refugees in the United States are individuals the virus severely affected who desire a place to seek asylum and better-quality health services. However, the virus spread rapidly across borders, making it harder for refugees to find places that are genuinely safe.

Actions from the IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is the United Nations’ migration agency, has worked hard to provide shelter to those the COVID-19 pandemic displaced. The organization also partnered with the World Food Program (WFP) to fight for people currently facing food and sanitary crises. Poverty deprives people of access to health facilities, allowing them to potentially avoid the virus. Additionally, the lack of new jobs and the government imposing quarantines have led people to seek help from organizations or even become pandemic refugees forced to cross borders looking for a better living standard.

Reaching the United States

Devastated economies have caused millions of individuals to flee to the United States, potentially traveling long distances in their journeys. Dozens of people pile up on the border between Mexico and the United States. These refugees pack minimum necessities and hit the road, attempting to cross the border and start a new life as unauthorized U.S. citizens. The Biden administration has encountered a significant number of refugees seeking prosperity and asylum in the aftermath of the pandemic. The U.S. Border Patrol has stated that refugees try to cross the borders daily. These numbers are quickly growing to overwhelming amounts.

Opportunity and Despair

While pandemic refugees in the United States seek a better life, they also encounter difficulties when searching for jobs. Compared to documented citizens, opportunities for undocumented citizens are different. Governments frequently attempt to send them back to their home country. Because of this, vulnerable groups like refugees are paying the highest price during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complications from the pandemic have created despair for individuals who flee their land and families. The closure of borders and restrictions on movement limit individuals’ access to food, housing and overall security. There are few cases of success and opportunities for refugees who fled their home countries seeking better opportunities. Security is also a significant problem for refugees since they are vulnerable groups and can spread the virus.

US COVID-19 Response

The United States has responded to the pandemic with a relief package of $11 billion for a global response. The U.S. government has worked hard to stop extreme poverty levels during the pandemic, and increase vaccination numbers and sustainable development. The country has also implemented unemployment benefits to give extra money to qualified unemployed individuals. Nevertheless, the U.S. must extend more of these protections to pandemic refugees. If it does, pandemic refugees in the United States will obtain the assistance and security they deserve to protect themselves and their families.

– Ainara Ruano Cervantes
Photo: Flickr

Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Civil wars, violence and poor governance in North Africa and the Middle East pushed people to Europe. Based on the statistical data of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), a total of 1,046,599 people arrived in Europe in 2015. The total number of arrivals to Europe by land in 2015 was 34,887, with 1,011,712 people arriving by sea. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that has received these migrants. Here is some information about migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Driving Forces of the European Union Migration Crisis

Every migration process remains influenced by a combination of several factors. The motivation for migration can be economic, environmental, political and social. The IOM defines the “push factor” as the situation or factor in a country of origin that encourage people to leave their country. The “pull factor” is the situation or factor that draws people to another country.

For the migrants, pull factors are high wages, employment and labor opportunities. But the essential push factors are lack of economic opportunities, slow economic growth and low wages. In other words, factors that have a connection with the economic situation. However, the situation is different for refugees. The main push factors for them are wars, interstate or civil strife and political oppression. The pull factors are safety and security.

The Western Balkan Migratory Route

Within a short period, a high number of arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants to the European Union (E.U.) has presented European leaders and politicians with one of the enormous challenges in the history of the E.U.

The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be an example of how the migration crisis created new challenges for a country that has unstable institutions and a weak economic situation. Since the beginning of the migration crisis, Bosnia became an unintended waystation for asylum seekers and migrants. The majority of the people who snuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina used the Western Balkan migratory route.

The majority of asylum seekers and migrants made their way from Turkey to Greece and northwards via the Western Balkans. The people who entered Greece tried to travel through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia to Hungary and Croatia. However, the violent act of Croatian border police pushed asylum seekers and migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the United Nations (U.N.) data, around 8,000 asylum seekers and migrants are currently present in the country, and 5,400 individuals are accommodated in E.U.-funded camps. Most of the people were from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The vast majority of the asylum seekers and migrants were not eager to stay in Hungary or Croatia. Their main goal was to travel towards Western Europe.

The Numbers

In 2014, 43,357 illegal border crossings were registered in the Western Balkan route. However, in 2015, the numbers drastically increased. In 2015, 764,033 illegal border crossings occurred. Over the next few years, the numbers dropped. The total number of illegal crossings in 2016 stood at 130,325 and in 2017, it dropped to 12,179.

The lowest number of border crossings in 2018 was 5,869. However, after 2018, the numbers increased. For example, in 2020, there were 26,918 illegal crossings. The data refers to the detection of illegal border crossing rather than several individuals. The same individual may have attempted to cross the external borders several times.

The Situation in Refugee Camps

In January 2021, the European Commission announced that €3.5 million in financial aid will go toward helping asylum seekers and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main goal of the funding is to supply warm clothing, blankets, food, healthcare service and psychosocial support. Since early 2018, the E.U. has provided more than €88 either directly to Bosnia and Herzegovina or to partner organizations that implement projects to improve conditions in the camps.

Despite the E.U. monetary help, the authority of the country faces difficulties to handle the situation, and most of the camp residents live in poverty. Residents of camps suffer from a lack of food, clean water and sanitary conditions. On the other hand, one of the main problems resulted in that the responsible authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other international organizations did not manage monetary aid properly. Also, as NGOs have argued, the E.U. often focuses on short-term solutions rather than long-term.

Despite all the financial aid from the E.U., the Bosnian Premier Zoran Tegeltija states that “Bosnia-Herzegovina can’t handle the migrant crisis on its own.” The position of Bosnian authorities is that they are carrying a heavy burden and financial support is not enough.  Zoran says the “number of migrants in proportion to the number of residents is significantly higher compared to other countries.”


The E.U. provided monetary aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016. Despite the ongoing challenges in the refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, hopefully, continued financial aid will improve their conditions.

Tofig Ismayilzada
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Human Trafficking in Ukraine
Human trafficking in Ukraine is a serious and overwhelming issue that has affected the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Ukraine is one of the most prominent countries in Europe for human trafficking with over 260,000 Ukrainian trafficking victims over the last 30 years. Despite this disheartening number, Ukraine’s government and some organizations are fighting human trafficking in Ukraine.

The History of Trafficking in Ukraine

When Ukraine became a separate nation in 1991, the slave and human trafficking trade skyrocketed. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has worsened the issue as it has caused displacement for millions of individuals. These individuals are far more susceptible to ending up in the trafficking trade because of the vulnerable state they are in due to the turmoil between the two countries, according to the Library of Congress Law. Traffickers often target the Roma community of Ukraine, a nomadic Indo-Aryan group of people, because they lack access to state social assistance programs. Low-skilled laborers, as well as children in state-run orphanages, are targets for traffickers as well. This is because they are poor and powerless in the eyes of the country.

Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking in Ukraine

Ukraine is taking huge strides in its governmental policies to combat human trafficking. The International Organization for Migration Ukraine Counter-Trafficking Program aims to support efforts to combat trafficking in Ukraine. It also provides access for victims to receive “assistance and justice.” The IOM program identified and was able to help around 600 victims of human trafficking from January to June 2019, with about 16,000 victims having received assistance throughout 19 years of the program’s existence. Without the help of the IOM, efforts towards tracking down victims and traffickers would not be as prominent.

Governmental Progress in Fighting Human Trafficking in Ukraine

Ukraine’s government has made huge strides in law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking in the country. This includes increasing the number of investigated offenses and apprehensions from previous years. The government has increased financial assistance to victims of human trafficking. It has also been providing shelter through government housing, psychological assistance and medical care. The Ministry for Social Policy has continually made attempts at anti-trafficking efforts by creating Child Protection Day and World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

Looking Ahead

The issue of human trafficking in Ukraine is on an upswing. This is because there is more governmental recognition of the way it is impacting Ukrainian citizens. With the efforts of organizations like IOM, there are more forces garnering action towards fighting human trafficking in Ukraine.

– Allie Degner
Photo: Flickr

Nepal’s Refugee Resettlement Program
Much of the world struggles to assist refugees and other forcibly displaced people. However, Nepal stands out as a rare success story. The nation accepted more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees since the 1990s. Nepal’s refugee resettlement program has proven to be effective. The program has relocated about 113,500 refugees to third countries. Additionally, many of the camps that emerged have shut down because they were no longer necessary. However, it is still challenging to provide refugees with their basic needs.

Origins of the Bhutanese Refugee Crisis

Ethnic Nepalis people whose origins lie in Bhutan primarily partake in Nepal’s refugee resettlement program. The Lhotshampas are Nepali people who reside in the southern portion of Bhutan and maintain a distinct culture.

The Bhutanese government initiated the One Nation, One People policy to promote the dominant Bhutanese culture. Many perceived this policy as an attempt to suppress Nepali culture in Bhutan. Additionally, this policy replaced the Nepali language with Dzongkha as the primary mode of instruction in schools. Furthermore, it forbade Nepalis from wearing their traditional clothing, forcing them to dress like the Bhutanese majority.

Bhutanese officials became wary of the substantial Lhotshampa population in the south after the 1988 census. Additionally, accusations emerged of them being illegal aliens along with instances of violence and discrimination. As a result, large numbers of ethnic Nepalis left Bhutan for refugee camps in Nepal.

Nepal’s Refugee Resettlement Program

The population of Lhotshampa refugees in Nepal has increased to more than 100,000 people. Unfortunately, talks with Bhutan failed to produce any solution. Thus, the government of Nepal developed a plan to resettle the refugees in other countries.

Nepal’s refugee resettlement program started in 2007. In addition, Nepal and eight other countries collaborated with each other. These countries are the United States, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and the United Kingdom. These nations agreed to accept Lhotshampa refugees, allowing them to lead new lives outside of refugee camps.

Organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the government of Nepal have aided in the program’s success. UNHCR and the Nepalese government underwent efforts to provide documentation for each refugee. Photos and listings of details of each person provided an accurate number of refugees. This made monitoring the program much easier. In addition, IOM oversaw the practical side of the program. This included arranging flights and teaching refugees how to navigate through an airport.

Challenges That Those in the Camps Face

As a result of Nepal’s refugee resettlement program, the number of Lhotshampas in the country has decreased to about 6,000. Furthermore, out of the seven camps that began in the 1990s, only two remain in the Jhapa and Morang districts of eastern Nepal. While this constitutes a success, the Lhotshampas who remain in the camps still face challenges.

Many people feel isolated because they are unable to join their families abroad. Additionally, they suffer a lack of emotional support and income. As a result, many suffer from depression, substance abuse and suicide in these camps. Furthermore, the camp’s dwindling population has led to a shortage of teachers. UNHCR established a suicide prevention program and youth centers to combat these issues.

Nepal’s refugee resettlement program is effective in relocating most of the Lhotshampas refugees since the 1990s. UNHCR, IOM and the government of Nepal have allowed refugees to have the opportunity to lead new lives in other countries. Many challenges remain for those in the camps. However, the government has made significant efforts to address them.

– Nikhil Khanal
Photo: Flickr

Mental Health in Yemen
Mental health in Yemen requires attention due to the country’s ongoing troubles. For six years now, Yemen has been facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world—more than 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children who have no hand in the fight for power and status. To make the matter worse, the outburst of COVID-19 drove the country into “an emergency within an emergency.”

Only half of Yemen’s health facilities are capable of functioning in the worst of circumstances, and amidst the shortage of masks, gloves, clean water and sanitation, the number of cases rose up to 2,221 as of February 25, 2021, with 624 losing their lives due to the lack of supplies to treat the virus. The country is facing a huge crisis, and the crisis is affecting the mental health of its citizens as much as their physical bodies. Amidst the lack of functioning facilities and death surrounding them from every direction, the increased pressure on the Yemenis worsened their mental health further. Here is some information about mental health in Yemen.

Mental Health in Yemen

Due to the crippling stress on the backs of the Yemeni people, an estimate of one in five people in Yemen suffer from a mental health disorder, according to a study that the Family Counselling and Development Foundation conducted in 2017; this includes depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, due to the lack of education and facilities, the number of psychiatrists is small with almost 0.2 psychiatrists per 100,000 people as of 2016. This amounts to 40 psychiatrists for the entire population. Additionally, to add to the misery and the deteriorating mental health in Yemen, some of the few existing mental health services closed due to the pandemic.

UNFPA and Psychological Support Centers

However, amidst all the odds, and all the difficulties that Yemen is facing in trying to stay afloat, UNFPA has not ceased to offer its mental health services to the survivors of gender-based violence and improve the mental health in Yemen. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the United Nations sector that works
to protect youth’s potential and ensures that every childbirth is safe.

In the beginning, social workers carried out the work, however, in 2018, the UNFPA offered its help and assistance through psychological support centers as well. These centers were capable of providing “specialized and clinical mental health care, including through telephone assistance.” Currently, even during the coronavirus outbreak, six UNFPA- supported psychological centers are operating and helping those in need—the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid provides support to two of these centers that provide crucial assistance to the Yemenis when they need it most.

Due to the increased demands for mental support, UNFPA increased the number of counselors available for people’s convenience. The counselors became available to deliver telecounseling services via 18 toll-free telecounseling hotlines in order to assist survivors of gender-based violence and educate the population on COVID-19 prevention. The results were so impressive: nearly 18,000 people received specialized psychological support through the toll-free hotline from 2018. Moreover, more than 25,000 survivors of violence received psychological support in the form of in-person counseling. UNFPA aims to help assist 5.5 million people via essential and life-saving services by 2019.

The Internationational Organization of Migration (IOM)

Moreover, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) provides a safe place for children to escape from the blood and hunger in the country they must reside in—a place to feel a sense of normalcy and to live in the beauty of their childhood, even for a few hours. The children participate in a variety of activities to help them learn and play, such as storytelling, artwork and more.

Beginning in March 2016, IOM offered community-based psychosocial support to nearly 400,000 children. More than half of these children watched their homes getting destroyed and had to live in informal sites.

Yemen has been facing a depilating economic and social crisis until now, and this has been affecting mental health in Yemen every day. However, with the help of various organizations, the citizens of Yemen will receive sufficient treatment and care to help rebuild their country gradually.

– Reem Agha
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking in Ghana
Human trafficking is a wicked global business that involves kidnapping people for slavery, forced labor or exploitation, robbing millions of people (largely women and kids) of their homes. Many children experience human trafficking in Ghana.

Human Trafficking in Ghana

Human trafficking in Ghana is a nationwide affair but is more prominent in the Volta region and the oil-producing Western region. Research from August 2016 reported that 35.2% of households consisted of trafficked children with 18% working in the fishing industry, 10% in domestic servitude and a few reports of early and forced marriage.

Since 2002, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), along with several NGOs and international organizations, has aimed to combat human trafficking in Ghana. These organizations mainly work towards rescuing, sheltering and rehabilitating victims.

The Importance of Community Outreach and Education

International Organization for Migration (IOM) organizes programs in the Volta, Central, Greater Accra and Brong-Ahafo Regions of Ghana to strengthen the ties between communities to effectively condemn and prosecute traffickers, provide intensive care for distressed victims and prevent trafficking altogether. The programs intend to educate the villagers about the dangers of child trafficking, international and national legislation on child rights and human trafficking as a culpable offense.

Traffickers do not always realize the immorality of keeping the kids away from their parents and schools. “For instance, Benjamin Tornye, a fisherman for 15 years, used to visit parents and ask them if their children could help him with his work. As he said, “children are good fishers.” He would teach them how to use the boat, swim and dive, and he believed he was doing the right thing.”

Therefore, rescuing trafficked children is much more than just freeing them from the clasps of exploitation. To make a real impact, the authorities must sensitize and educate people about human-trafficking; and create and maintain a peaceful environment for the well-being of the children.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and APPLE, a Ghanaian NGO founded in 1977, both rescue children from trafficking and bring them back to their families. Rescued children first go to a government-run shelter for up to three months before they reunite with their parents. At the shelter, they receive medical checks, health treatment, psychological counseling and basic education.

Additionally, a clinical psychologist inspects the victims to identify the ill-treatment that they have experienced which informs the creation of a personalized plan for rehabilitation. Next, the children attend school or undertake an apprenticeship with the necessary supplies. Otherwise, if they are fortunate enough, they go back home to their parents.

The children who return to their parents get to fulfill the fundamental right of all the children in this world: to grow up with a family. The authorities organize a background test and a compatibility test to ensure that the caretakers are suitable before handing over the child.

The development of the kids –in the family environment, school and apprenticeship– receives monitoring over a period of 2.5 years to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. Further, watchdog groups and surveillance teams have merged to prevent re-trafficking of children. Parents also receive livelihood assistance upon the homecoming of the children.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) educates the locals, national government officials, and the traffickers about the appalling effects of human-trafficking on a child. Further, it raises awareness on the issue and encourages a shift in the mindset of the people.


With these wonderful initiatives and generous donations by people and organizations from all over the world, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), along with its partner NGOs, has been able to help victims of human trafficking in small ways.

As of now, IOM has rescued 732 trafficked children in Ghana and rehabilitated and reintegrated them into their respective communities. Additionally, of these children, 690 have been able to attend school with 20 graduating high school. Moreover, 10 have completed apprenticeships and are supporting themselves now, while 191 children have been able to reintegrate due to the sponsorship of private donors.

Beyond the apparent benefits to child victims of human trafficking, IOM has aided in other ways as well. In fact, it has granted education regarding trafficking to 130 communities and 48,533 community members. It has also benefitted 468 parents/guardians of trafficked children with micro-business assistance.

Finally, IOM has offered training to 50 social workers in the rehabilitation of child and adult victims of trafficking. It has also provided technical assistance in capacity-building on human trafficking issues to 150 government officials from the Police, Immigration, Naval and Judicial Services.

Government Support

The Government of Ghana introduced several policies, legislation and programs to address the main grounds of human trafficking. Consequently, to set up an all-inclusive approach, the government devised the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694), providing a robust authorized framework to prevent human trafficking, prosecute the perpetrators and protect the victims.

The government of Ghana and the NGOs have had a modest impact in curbing the enormity of human trafficking by implementing preventive strategies. The government successfully established a capable board and conducting training sessions for law enforcement, immigration officials and the citizenry. Despite the best efforts to eradicate human trafficking and persecute domestic and international offenders, the number of human trafficking cases remains disappointingly high.

– Prathamesh Mantri
Photo: Flickr