IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
February 11, 2010
ADEN – Leaving behind her six children, Somali refugee Saada has fled her war-torn homeland to Yemen.
Counting for months on UN handouts, she was forced to turn to sell her
"My life is rubbish, but what can I do?" the women in her 30s told Reuters in the southern city of Aden.
Saada fled to Yemen after she was divorced by her first husband and her second was badly wounded in fighting in Mogadishu.
She says she turned to prostitution to send money to relatives at home who are looking after her children.
"I have to work and make some money," she said.
"So now I am on my own."
Somalia has sunk into abyss since the ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre by warlords in 1991.
Deadly fighting between government troops and militants has forced more than 1.5 million Somalis to flee their country.
At least 11 civilians were killed Wednesday when African peacekeepers responded to a mortar attack by militant.
Yemen, which has traditionally had close ties with Somalia, has given
Yemen hosts 171,000 registered refugees, mostly Somalis, according to UNHCR estimates.
Alysia, another Somali refugee, was forced to prostitution to make a living.
"I have to take care of my son," said Alysia, who had paid smugglers to
"I have to buy him milk."
Somalis desperate to flee their homeland pay smugglers up to $150 depending on the sea route, and are totally at their mercy.
Poverty and unemployment are seen as the main factors pushing Somalis to prostitution.
"The main reason for prostitution is poverty, the unemployment of
Yemen itself is mired in poverty.
With more than 40 percent of its 23 million people living on below $2 a
Like thousands of Somali refugees, Najma, 34, is aspiring for an honourable life.
"My life is a mess." She said.
"I would do anything else but what?"