Female refugees are uniquely susceptible to sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, and sexual slavery in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) because of their lesser legal status and lack of rights. Displaced or abused women are excluded from traditional human rights protocols, and most MENA countries do not recognize the basic rights of women, including the right to custody of their children.
In 2013, we began adapting our successful LGBTI program framework to serve the needs of women at risk in Iraq. Today, we provide a range of services to Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Somali, and Syrian women at risk. IRAP works extensively with this population, providing services that include legal representation, emergency protection, extraction from violent situations, and advocacy to make the resettlement process accessible both to women who have been trafficked, and to those who have fled abusive situations with children and are struggling to obtain legal custody. We use grassroots outreach among refugee populations to find, screen, and take on the most vulnerable women as clients; connect women to health, mental health, housing, and psychosocial services; and provide access to local attorneys for custody and divorce matters.