MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

(MENA)

‘The Reshma Project – MENA’ is an autonomous arm of ‘The Reshma Project’, established in 2018 in the Middle East.

About Us

We work to expose the darkness of trafficking and empower the freedom of anyone suffering at the hands of those looking to sexually exploit women and young children in the MENA region. 

Our work consists of rescue efforts, counseling & therapy, providing shelter & security, and aftercare & reintegration support to all those affected. 

We offer vital resources to enrich the lives of survivors on their healing journey – physically, emotionally, and spiritually, expanding into the source markets for those trafficked from Africa, the Indian Sub-continent, CIS, and the Far East.

About Reshma project

Of the many locations where human trafficking is prevalent in the Middle East & North Africa, most are characterized by poverty.

About Reshma project

About the MENA Region

The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region is an important source of economic and energy resources globally.  It covers over 15 million square kilometers, containing 6 percent of the world’s population –  about the same as the European Union’s (EU) population.

It is home to some 495 million people across 21 countries including the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) – a regional, intergovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Other countries in MENA include Algeria, Djibouti, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, the Republic of Yemen, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, and West Bank and Gaza.

The GCC countries attract millions of migrant workers from all over the world with some countries hosting as many as 200 nationalities. These oil-rich states are some of the most prosperous nations, and people flock to their cities to search for a better life. Unfortunately, it has also become an enabling opportunity for traffickers to exploit the vulnerable, poor, and needy into sexual slavery for financial bondage.

Your partnership helps us address issues of human trafficking in the MENA region, including: 

  • helping victims get to safety
  • arranging for flights and exit passes
  • providing rehabilitation
  • supporting local shelters
  • facilitating learning communities to share and build new knowledge and awareness
  • helping organizations in the region build capacity
  • and much more!

Some of our stories

Mya's Story

Mya came to the Middle East from a West African country, to work as a housemaid. She was unpaid for three months during the time she worked. While her employers got the legal paperwork, Mya never received them from her employers, which was an illegal act.

A group of Nigerians were illegally using her immigration status to forge paperwork to rent apartments in her name. When Mya began questioning her employer’s intentions, her work visa was canceled and the paperwork was removed from her passport.

She was then left stranded on the city streets and was prostituted by another Nigerian couple and left homeless. Thankfully through mutual friends back in her home country, The Reshma Project – MENA team members were introduced to her case just before Easter Sunday of 2023.

The team met her and learned she was sharing a room with nine other men and was the only woman who was also dependent on a benefactor from her country. We moved her to a comfortable safe house with better hygienic conditions. After conversations with the embassy that led to no solution, we booked her a flight ticket home. In the process of getting her an exit pass, we learned that there were several cases against her in the court. 

Mya was a victim of stolen identity and was unable to fly home until her cases were resolved. A law firm is currently fighting her case pro bono and May 2024 will mark one year. Since then, The Reshma-MENA team has been providing trauma-based care, counseling, and skills in Math,  English language, and typing until she can go home and be united with her family.

Aksana's Story

Aksana was forced into prostitution under the pretext that she was going to the Middle East for a ‘good job’ in a beauty parlor that would pay her an excellent salary. Her papers were taken away and she had no choice but to ‘service’ customers that her agent brought ‘home’.

The Reshma Project – MENA team engaged with her for eight months, building a relationship, and instilling dignity and worth. Through these interactions, a seed of thought was planted in Askana’s mind, “what will I do in 10 years when I’m no longer seen as sexually desirable to men?”

At this point she reached out to our team for help to go back home to the Far East in February  2021. We helped repatriate her and got her engaged with a local agency for aftercare.

One day she returned to the Middle East, contacted us, and exclaimed joyfully because the seed of thought we planted in her mind, took root and grew. She found an investor to give towards a small home catering business for her community. Our team provided advice and counsel for her mother and younger sister to start the catering business alongside her.

While Aksana and her family struggled to expand and grow, she never gave up hope for what she wanted to obtain: freedom from exploitation, which she has achieved. Now Aksana and her sister are opening a new restaurant and we are providing the skillset to market her business.

Aanya's Story

Aanya was a fashion designer, thriving in her work until a private loan she took, just before the Covid lockdown, affected her greatly. The loan sharks didn’t give her a choice and forced her into prostitution, using her income to settle the loan. 

The Reshma-MENA team began to engage with her, encouraging and motivating her, and this regular communication gave her hope in a life filled with despair. Rising to the challenge of carving a path of freedom for herself, she joined a real estate firm but the Reshma team has encouraged her to also revive her design business.

The team has been creating a brand identity for her business and is in the process – slowly but surely – of helping her restart her passion project until she is confident in herself.

Contact us

+(971) 55 1980881

PO Box 25, Asheville, NC 28802 USA