Dominika Kulczyk is founder and president of the Kulczyk Foundation which works with local NGOs to support aid projects in countries affected by poverty. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.
(CNN)Imagine the fear you’d feel for your children’s lives when you hear gunshots ring out in the distance. The fear when armed men storm your village; the fear when you run for your lives knowing your home burns behind you. The escape across a border, the relief of safety; the relief of knowing your children have survived and will have a life ahead of them.
All that, only then to lose a child to human traffickers.Khurshida Begum, along with hundreds of thousands of other Rohingyan refugees, escaped Rakhine State in Myanmar in 2017 when violence erupted in the area. People were seized and tortured, villages burnt to the ground and an estimated 10,000 Rohingya killed. Like others, Khurshida witnessed unimaginable atrocities, carrying those images with her as her family fled for their lives.Khurshida, her husband Laal Miah and her children escaped, soon reaching Bangladesh where Camp 2 in Kutupalong, near Cox’s Bazar in the south of the country, became their home. A refugee camp is no home for a child, but compared to what they had gone through in Myanmar, it was a home free from persecution; a seemingly safe home.But her son Mohammad Faisal went missing from this home in April. He is not the first, nor sadly the last Rohingyan refugee who has been trafficked from a refugee camp. The world has recognized the vulnerability of the Rohingyan refugees, but some have sadly seen this vulnerability as an opportunity. An opportunity to take advantage. An opportunity to trade in human lives.Read MoreThe refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh provide temporary settlement to 912,000 Rohingya.While women and girls are most likely to be the victims in Rohingya trafficking according to the UN Migration Agency, a third of the Rohingya refugees trafficked are men and boys who are then forced into labour.Working alongside the CNN Freedom Project, my team and I at the Kulczyk Foundation heard Khurshida’s story when we traveled to Bangladesh this summer. What happened to Faisal became the focus of the CNN Freedom Project documentary, Stolen Son. I would encourage you to bear witness to his mother’s anguish, and the brave advocates who helped pursue his case.As a parent myself, I can’t imagine the despair Khurshida and Laal Miah must have felt. The Rohingya are stateless people, so victims and their families are not entitled to any state support. No official is obliged to act in defense of their family’s rights. The Rohingyan crisis is undeniably complex, requiring a multi-stakeholder approach to find a long-term solution and there will no doubt be conversations at the upcoming 74th session of the UN General Assembly. But, however soon that solution can be reached, hundreds of thousands of refugees remain in camps in the meantime, continuing to struggle with poor living conditions, the long-term psychological impact of the traumas experienced in Rakhine State and the continued threat of the removal of their freedom at the hands of the modern slave trade.I encourage everyone who watches Stolen Son to demand more action is taken to support Rohingya refugees into freedom — freedom from trafficking, freedom from the ongoing impact of the traumas suffered and freedom from persecution.