Turkmenistan's Human Trafficking Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

Capacity building training
Training for NGOs supporting victims of human trafficking takes place in Turkmenbashy, Turkmenistan, 2013.
IOM
New skills, self-employment generate freedom from a troubled past
“I never believed that one day I would have a profession with my own workplace and tools, and that I could make such beautiful things for people.”

August 2014—Shedding the social stigma of being a victim of human trafficking and healing from the trauma of the experience are processes that require significant public support.

USAID, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration in Turkmenistan and other NGOs, supports the organization Yenme to reintegrate victims of human trafficking (VOTs) into society. Now in its fourth year of operation, Yenme is the country’s leading organization in providing rehabilitation assistance to VOTs.

Yenme uses a creative, comprehensive approach to social reintegration by providing medical, psychological and professional legal assistance. VOTs become involved in organizing and conducting public events such as handicraft exhibitions, concerts and psychological trainings. As a result, people who enter the shelter in a state of desperation begin rebuilding their lives with renewed hope and optimism. Not only have beneficiaries found employment opportunities, 90 percent of VOTs who received reintegration assistance are self-employed, using their newly acquired skills.

Myahri* lives in the Ahal district of Turkmenistan. Forced into demeaning labor by her family’s financial difficulties, Myahri was subjected to violations of her human and labor rights, and was involved in trafficking from November 2009 to March 2011. She sought out employment opportunities abroad, after which she returned  home deflated, without hope for her future.

After analyzing her situation and the impact of the traumatic events she had faced, Yenme provided her with social support, psychological counseling, medical check-ups and treatment. She also attended courses on garment design and tailoring, after which she got a job in a dressmaking and tailoring shop as a seamstress. In early 2013, she started her own business.

“I never believed that one day I would have a profession with my own workplace and tools, and that I could make such beautiful things for people,” said Myahri.

Now, about 45 percent of her village’s tailoring market belongs to Myahri, which has caused her net profit to rise by 50 percent over the first year of operations.

This is one of many success stories of VOTs assisted by Yenme. It often happens that one moment can change a person’s fate, though not everyone can handle it by his or her own strength. Yenme, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration and with the support of USAID, helps lead once desperate people to new lives in pursuit of their dreams.

*Real name withheld to protect identity.

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Last updated: August 01, 2014

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