Stop Increasing Human Trafficking in Yemen

Target: Yemini Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa

Goal: End human trafficking and protect Yemini and migrant women

The United Nations reports that human trafficking is increasing in Yemen. The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) recorded more than 103,000 “new arrivals” in Yemen in 2011 alone. The agency predicted an increase in 2012, and sadly they were right. Earlier this year, the UNCHR announced that the recorded number for 2012 was 107,500. This is the recorded number – the actual number is suspected to be considerably higher.

Poverty plays an important part in the trade of humans, and consequently the most common victims are poor, sexually exploited women. There are about 300,000 internally displaced Yeminis as a result of conflicts that have been recurring for almost a decade. The displaced women are vulnerable to sex trafficking, and most cases of human trafficking in Yemen involve migrant women from the Horn of Africa travelling to Saudi Arabia via Yemen. In 2012, more than 80% of all cases were Ethiopian nationals, and Somali refugees made up the remaining amount. These women are fleeing their home countries, trying to escape poverty. They face dangerous boat rides, and have to pay large fees in their attempts to reach Gulf States like Saudi Arabia to find work. Many are raped and killed along the way – some suffocate from the overcrowded conditions on the boats, while some are forced into the water, far from shore, to avoid the Yemeni Coast Guard. At least 100 people drowned from such occurrences during 2012, according to the UNCHR. Others are taken hostage by traffickers. However, the majority of the trafficking cases happen upon arrival in Yemen.

Yemen’s location makes it a perfect transit center for travel to the rest of the region. It is also known for its hospitality towards refugees, currently hosting more than 236,000, mainly Somalis. Vulnerable women with no real protection, however, are at great risk during transit in Yemen, where traffickers target those who are looking to continue their travels to the Gulf States for work.

Clearly, there are other countries involved, and several factors must be considered in order to effectively put a stop to these developments, but the lack of Yemeni government efforts to fight human trafficking is alarming, especially when the number of recorded cases continues to grow. Sign this petition and tell Yemini Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa to take responsibility for what is happening on his own territory, and protect internally displaced and migrant women from human trafficking.


Dear Prime Minister Basindawa,

Human trafficking is a common occurrence in Yemen. More than 103,000 “new arrivals” were recorded in 2011 alone. The predicted increase sadly came true when earlier this year, the United Nations announced that the recorded number for 2012 was 107,500. Not only is the recorded number increasing, but the actual number is presumably considerably higher.

Yemen is a historic transit hub for travels to the rest of the region, and it is known for its hospitality towards refugees. This also means that many women – vulnerable women – arrive on a daily basis, usually from Ethiopia. Having faced horrible travelling conditions to get to Yemen, they arrive in Yemen with no real protection and are at great risk during transit. Human traffickers target these mainly poor women who are looking to continue their travels to the Gulf States for work. Other internally displaced women are similarly vulnerable, and risk being sexually exploited and sold as cattle.

I urge you to take responsibility for what is happening in Yemeni territory: to protect these women and to take all possible measures to quickly and effectively end human trafficking in Yemen.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Martin Sojka via Flickr

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