From Amnesty International:
18 January 2016
Governments and aid agencies are failing to provide even basic protections to women refugees traveling from Syria and Iraq. New research conducted by Amnesty International shows that women and girl refugees face violence, assault, exploitation and sexual harassment at every stage of their journey, including on European soil.
The organization interviewed 40 refugee women and girls in Germany and Norway last month who travelled from Turkey to Greece and then across the Balkans. All the women described feeling threatened and unsafe during the journey. Many reported that in almost all of the countries they passed through they experienced physical abuse and financial exploitation, being groped or pressured to have sex by smugglers, security staff or other refugees.
“After living through the horrors of the war in Iraq and Syria these women have risked everything to find safety for themselves and their children. But from the moment they begin this journey they are again exposed to violence and exploitation, with little support or protection,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response director. …
A dozen of the women interviewed said that they had been touched, stroked or leered at in European transit camps. One 22-year-old Iraqi woman told Amnesty International that when she was in Germany a uniformed security guard offered to give her some clothes in exchange for “spending time alone” with him. …
Women and girls reported filthy conditions in a number of transit camps, where food was limited and pregnant women in particular found little or no support. Women also reported that toilet facilities were often squalid and women felt unsafe as some sanitary facilities were not segregated by sex. For example, in at least two instances women were watched by men at the facility when they accessed the bathrooms. Some women also experienced direct violence from other refugees, as well as by police, particularly when tensions rose in cramped conditions and security forces intervened.
Rania, a 19-year-old pregnant woman from Syria, told Amnesty International about her experience in Hungary:
“The police then moved us to another place, which was even worse. It was full of cages and there wasn’t any air coming in. We were locked up. We stayed there for two days. We received two meals a day. The toilets were worse than in the other camps, I feel like they mean to keep the toilets like that to make us suffer.
“On our second day there, the police hit a Syrian woman from Aleppo because she begged the police to let her go… Her sister tried to defend her, she spoke English, was told that if she doesn’t shut up they will hit her like her sister. A similar situation happened to an Iranian woman the next day because she asked for extra food for her kids.”
Maryam, a 16-year-old from Syria:
(In Greece) “People started screaming and shouting, so the police attacked us and was hitting everyone with sticks. They hit me on my arm with a stick. They even hit younger kids. They hit everyone even on the head. I got dizzy and I fell, people were stepping on me. I was crying and was separated from my mother. They called my name and I was with my mother. I showed them my arm and a police officer saw my arm and laughed, I asked for a doctor, they asked me and my mother to leave.”
See also here.