Extreme weather events in India made women, children more vulnerable to modern slavery, flags report

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By Kiran Pandey

Climate change-induced extreme weather events put women, children and minorities at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking. The phenomenon is on the rise in India, among other countries, warned the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International in a recent report. 

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The delta region is characterised by intense, recurrent and sudden-onset disasters, as well as slow-onset ecological degradation making large areas uninhabitable. Rising sea levels, erratic rainfall, increased frequency of cyclones, tidal surges and floods, mean that millions of people across the Sundarbans are unable to work for most of the year.

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A case study from Accra in Ghana showed that after the drought, the young men and women in northern Ghana were forced to migrate to major cities. The women worked as porters and are at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and debt bondage.

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Several ongoing initiatives — including the Warsaw International Mechanism Task Force on Displacement (WIM TFD), the Sendai Framework, etc — should be coordinated to increase understanding of, and response to, growing risks of climate-induced migration/displacement and exposure to modern slavery.

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