Women refugees from Asian and African countries such as Pakistan or Somalia, reach Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Having experienced situations of war, sexual abuse and systematic oppression, they are forced to flee, forced to pay smugglers, and very often, robbed of their few belongings are abandoned.
These are the women who receive help at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) centre in Bangkok, which runs a specific service of psychological and material assistance for women refugees. The project provides support and counselling for unaccompanied Somali and Pakistani women and girls.
“Refugee women are extremely vulnerable and most suffer sexual abuse. We try to make them feel less alone” Jennifer Martin, JRS psycho-social counsellor, said in an interview with Fides.
“After such a terrifying experience we offer them the chance to talk through the trauma. This helps to build a sense of solidarity and sharing. The shock of being in a different culture can be overwhelming and a cause of tension, especially among older women. Moreover women and girls face the challenge of finding a way to make a living, for the country of arrival they are illegal immigrants ”
The JRS aims to build a long-term protective factor, unity among the women, awareness that being exploited by human trafficking criminals is a shared experience. Juridical difficulties are hard to solve and it is not easy for the girls and women involved to adapt to the new environment says JRS, but gradually socialization and human relations can restore dignity and confidence.