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SOLWODI:

- Solidarity with women in distress! - Solidarität mit Frauen in Not!




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SOLWODI is an association that helps women in distress. SOLWODI is a contact point for migrant women who have come to Germany through sex tourism, human trafficking or arranged marriage. The association is non-partisan and non-denominational. more...

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Zu den Internetseiten der agentur makz.Seit 1998 ist diese Website ein Sponsoringprojekt der agentur makz für den Verein SOLWODI.


Background information

The number of women living in poverty is increasing worldwide. In many underdeveloped countries women and girls have lower levels of education than their male counterparts, mainly due to the traditional roles and customs in those countries. As a result, women’s incomes are generally far lower than men’s, despite the fact that it is often the women who carry sole responsibility for their families, since the men leave home in search of work and move to the towns.

Such women can often only see 3 options to escape poverty and earn enough to feed their family: marry a "rich" foreigner, find employment abroad or prostitution.

Their attempts to free themselves from poverty make them easy prey for traffickers, smugglers or criminal marriage agencies. In many cases the women are sold to brothels and forced into prostitution or become dependant on husbands who exploit them sexually and emotionally.

SOLWODI offers help to women who are victims of sex tourism, criminal marriage agencies and traffickers.

 

The problem of sex tourism

Many countries in Asia, Africa, South America and in Middle and Eastern European states suffer from underdeveloped economies, resulting in extremely difficult living conditions for single mothers, especially in rural areas. In search of employment in tourist resorts, the women and their children find themselves competing with a multitude of other job hunters. In desperation they turn to prostitution. With neither medical nor legal protection they are completely at the mercy of the sex tourists, paedophiles and also the police. Emotionally, sexually and financially exploited, the women become isolated from their social environment. The development is devastating, especially for the children, who find themselves being abused more and more often by sex tourists. A normal start in life becomes impossible.

Prostitution is forbidden in most countries. However, when the police carry out their regular raids, only the women and children working in prostitution are arrested, whilst their clients – as an important source of foreign currency – are left alone.

 

The Problem of Commercial Marriage Traffickingl

Besides prostitution, impoverished women often see marrying a "rich" foreigner to be the only means of ensuring the survival of ther own family. Traffickers and smugglers pretending to arrange marriages, and also paedophiles take advantage of the women’s desolate situation and turn marriage arranging into marriage or bride trafficking.

Their lack of knowledge about the living conditions or legal situation in the foreign countries is disastrous for the women. Most of them have no idea that for example in Germany, according to Section19 of the Aliens Act, a person must been married for a certain number of years and lived together in a conjugal union in order to obtain an indefinite permit of residence.

Furthermore, the difference in expectations between the couple leads to problems. These women feel themselves largely obliged to financially support their families back home. Most of their German husbands however wish for grateful, undemanding and submissive women. All these factors contribute to and promote the development of psychological and physical violence against the foreign wives.

 

The Problem of Human Trafficking

Just a few years ago, it was predominantly women from Africa, Asia and Latin America who were recruited through job offers in rich countries and then forced by violence into prostitution. Now however, one can observe an increasing demand for younger and younger prostitutes from Eastern Europe.

Upon their arrival in Germany, the women and girls have their passports and money taken away and are placed in brothels. Through threats and / or violence (including rape), they are made submissive and forced into prostitution.

 



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