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Kilagoro IDP Camp: Sexual abuse allegations and matters arising

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By Rukaiya Umar Digmari

Sexual exploitation and abuse are major issues that affect displaced persons within the host communities and in IDP camps. These issues can have long-lasting effects on the physical and mental health of victims and can perpetuate cycles of poverty and marginalization. Dikwa is a village in the northeastern region of Nigeria that has been affected by conflict and displacement. The village has been home to numerous internally displaced persons since the conflict began in 2009. The IDPs in Dikwa are primarily women and children, who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and insecurity.

Sexual exploitation abuse refers to the act of taking advantage of someone sexually for personal gain or pleasure, often through coercion, manipulation, or force. It involves various forms of non-consensual sexual activities or behaviors, such as harassment, assault, human trafficking, or the creation and distribution of explicit material without a person’s consent. Sexual exploitation abuse is a serious violation of an individual’s rights and consent, and it is considered a criminal offense in many jurisdictions. It is important to raise awareness about this issue, prevent it, and support victims.

Unfortunately, sexual exploitation and abuse are major issues that affect the IDPs in Dikwa. Many of the IDPs are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to their lack of resources and support. They may be targeted by individuals or groups who seek to take advantage of their vulnerability. One of the most significant issues facing the IDPs in Dikwa is the lack of access to basic services, including healthcare and education. This can make them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, as they may be unable to access the support they need to protect themselves.

Additionally, there is also a significant issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Kilagoro Camp, which is not established by either the NGO or the state government. The camp is home to numerous IDPs, primarily women and children, who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and insecurity.

Consequently, lack of support and resources in the camp can make the IDPs more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Furthermore, there have been reports of sexual exploitation and abuse of IDP in camps, including forced labor, forced marriage, and physical and sexual assault. Based on the reports received from the Kilagoro Camp, the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse is rampant and increasingly affects women in the camp.

In an interaction with one woman in the camp, disclosed that she called Kilagoro Camp her home for the past years. A mother of two, she grapples with the overwhelming challenge of providing for her children. She has endured the horrors of sexual exploitation and abuse, including forced labor and physical assault. “I arrived in this camp with my children, but I’ve been unable to secure employment or support. I’ve been coerced into working without pay, and I’ve suffered physical assaults at the hands of men in the camp. Protecting my children and myself is an arduous task.” Spoke about how she was approached by a man who promised to offer her all the necessities for her children, in return for adultery, and unfortunately, she became a victim because no one was ready to offer a helping hand to them. She also disclosed that many women are sexually exploited and abused by men from within and outside the IDP camp.

Yet, another woman disclosed that she has spent the last six months in Kilagoro Camp with her four children.  She faces similar struggles in providing for her family and has experienced sexual exploitation and abuse, including forced marriages and physical assault. Describing her plight, she states, “I brought my children to this camp, but I’ve struggled to find work or assistance. I was forced into a marriage I didn’t choose, and I’ve been subjected to physical abuse by men in the camp. Ensuring the safety of my children and myself is a constant battle.

Furthermore, some indication show that many women and girls came to the camp without children, but when looked around, plenty got pregnant and are now mothers without partners,” in the camp. With no access to justice or protection, it is challenging to imagine that victims in the camps will receive any respite soon.

It’s time the government and Non-governmental organizations recognized the human rights of women being sexually exploited and abused. Otherwise, they will remain vulnerable to the predatory desires of men, in the same place where they seek refuge.

Furthermore, there is an urgent need to establish a safe space free of sexual exploitation and abuse in those camps by making it part of every aid worker’s job to look out for victims of sexual exploitation.

Ruqayya Umar wrote in from University of Maiduguri

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