Posts by Victoria Wylie

Putting a Face to Refugees Worldwide

Posted on June 21st, 2012

During the height of sectarian violence in Iraq, many Iraqis left their country to find solace in Syria. Yasir Imad, 29, was one of them. In 2006, Imad was almost killed when a road bomb exploded on his car in Iraq. Later that same year, he was kidnapped and held captive for three days without knowing why. Ten days after he was released by his kidnappers, he received a note telling him to flee the country or risk being killed. “Some people think it might be because I worked for a telecom company and also for my religious views,” said Imad. “My family said you have to go now. We love you, but we don’t want to lose you.” The grim reality of war,…

The Slaves in the Shadows of America

Posted on April 25th, 2012

Hidden in the shadows of polite society in America are thousands of enslaved men, women, and children. This modern day slavery is known as human trafficking. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are 14,500 to 17,500 victims trafficked each year into this country. These numbers are often under-reported because the victims live in obscurity, hidden from the general public and are afraid to speak out. A common myth is that human trafficking only refers to forced prostitution. Yet trafficking often occurs in legitimate settings like farms, factories, hotels, nail salons, restaurants, and even private homes in ordinary towns. I spoke to a human trafficking survivor Arti (her name has been changed for her protection) about her experience coming to the United States.…

The Alarming Vulnerability of the Haitian Women

Posted on January 12th, 2012

Plagued by frustration and insufficient security, Haiti’s Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps are now the breeding ground for rape and sexual violence against women, young girls, and even infants. Gender-based violence was already a problem in Haiti. However, according to KOFAVIV (which stands for Commission of Women Victims for Victims in Creole), a grassroots organization established by and for rape survivors from the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, there has been an alarming increase of sexual violence and forced prostitution in the camps since the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Photo Ben Horton With the help of an interpreter, I spoke to Josie Philistin, 38, a director at KOFAVIV and a survivor of three sexual assaults. She and others in the organization work to raise awareness,…