Life as a female refugee: 'You don't know who to trust'

Life as a female refugee: 'You don't know who to trust'

In a European transit camp, women and girls explain why they feel safer sleeping out in the cold

​"We never sleep [at the same time]. One of us always stays awake. We've heard too many stories of women who have been robbed,"

says 38-year-old Samaher from Baghdad. She has a soft voice and sad, dark eyes.

​Not only do these women fleeing from their home town have to endure violence and robbery because they have to carry the money during the journey - no, at the same time, they have to look out for their children, so that nothing happens to them.

With no money left and consequently no possibility to leave the transit country and continue their journey, they often become victims of human trafficking - their two options: sell drugs or sell their body.

Since women refugees should never travel alone, some single women pretend to join other families to prevent being aussaulted in any way. Yet, it is not uncommon, that female refugees become victims of rape or even domestic violence. The consequences are fatal -  urinary tract infections, bleeding or miscarriages.

​"We have to take care of the children. That's a never-ending task. It's easier for men. They only have to worry about themselves."

explains Manal, heavily pregnant with her fourth child.

​The other women in Vinojug, a transit camp on the Macedonian-Greek border, agree: to be a refugee is much harder for a woman than for a man.

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