The Europe migrant crisis is visiting yet another horror upon the hundreds of thousands duped by people smugglers to make the perilous journey to Europe — the rape of countless immigrant women by their own travelling companions.
Enjoying a literal captive market and possessing the facility of no morals or scruples, human traffickers have found themselves at liberty to abuse their customers and charge them exorbitant rates.
One way in which families being smuggled into Europe can pay the enormous amounts of money demanded by the traffickers is to sell their women into sex work or to give in to direct demands from the smugglers themselves for the use of wives or daughters.
The fact that the migrants coming to Europe are predominantly young men make the journeys of the small number of women even more dangerous, as they are left helpless among their fellow countrymen. One 30-year-old woman who experienced this abuse at the hands of other migrants has come forward to speak of her experience.
Susanne Höhne, a psychotherapist specialising in treating traumatised female migrants arriving in Germany and with patients ranging in age from “barely adult” to pensionable age said the family of the woman had run out of money in Bulgaria while on their way to Germany from Syria, reports the New York Times. Unable to make payments to continue their travels, her husband “offered his wife as payment instead.”
The woman was then raped daily for three months in lieu of payment — abuse in which her husband started to join in. The woman is now in hiding in Berlin with her children, the husband living elsewhere in Germany with a restraining order. She fears that should her exact whereabouts be revealed her husband or other relatives would kill her for dishonouring the family, even though she was forced into the acts.
Another woman identified as ‘Samar’ spoke out of the abuse she received at the hands of a smuggler, and the fear she and others felt for the safety of their daughters. Travelling from Syria to Germany with her three daughters aged 2, 8, and 13, she said she and other mothers slept in shifts to keep the young girls under watch at all times. “I did not leave them out of my sight for one minute,” she said.
Like other women finding themselves in a tiny minority of migrants and easily taken advantage of, she was robbed of all her money and left unable to pay her smuggler while in Turkey. A man offered to take her to Europe with him for free in return for sex; but she refused, working in Turkey for a year to save €4,000 instead.
Samar said: “Everybody knows there are two ways of paying the smugglers. With money or with your body… almost all men in the world are bad.”