Human Trafficking: The Problem of the Absence of Men in Armenia

Editors’ note: Journalist Gohar Abrahamyan reports on the social dynamic that makes men in Armenia vulnerable to labor trafficking and its impact on the women and children they leave behind. She provides her personal impressions on a program seeking to help these women and children in this audio report. Listen to the audio clip, then read more about the issue in “Targeted Twice” in the September 2023 issue of ONE. A full transcript follows.

Unfortunately, broken families are a common issue in Armenia. While statistical data is scarce, one only needs to visit any village to witness the significant number of absent men. The country’s social situation often forces fathers to seek work abroad, but regrettably many choose to stay there, leaving their families behind.

As a result, these families are left vulnerable and trapped in poverty, making them easy targets for exploitation, including trafficking. In my article, I focus on two large families where children are with health problems and mothers are the sole caregivers for their children. These women find themselves devoting their entire day to caring for their children, yet they also need to earn money for basic necessities.

They rely on a state paid disability benefit of around $100, but this amount is so far from sufficient, especially considering the high cost of necessary medications. In this dire situation, these vulnerable women find hope in Caritas’s humanitarian program improving social conditions of single mothers.

This program not only supplies essential items, like food, hygiene products, stationary textbooks, fuel and medicine to these families, but also imparts valuable knowledge that shields them from falling into the trap of trafficking. The importance of this support cannot be overstated, as the desperation caused by hunger can lead people to make drastic choices and become victims of trafficking.

A communications specialist, Gohar Abrahamyan covers issues of justice and peace in the Caucasus for local and international media.

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