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Aida Abu Ras

Jordan , Class of 2009

Aida Abu Ras

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Over 60,000 migrant women work in Jordan, primarily as domestics, and Aida Abu Ras founded the first NGO to help them.

In the early 2000s, Aida Abu Ras was working for a Swiss organization called “1000 Peace Women for the Nobel Prize.” Their objective, at the time, was to nominate 1000 women working for peace for the 2005 Nobel Prize. In fact, Aida Abu Ras worked as their regional coordinator during that campaign. However, alongside her work with that organization, she began to see another problem in her country: human trafficking. She founded Friends of Women Workers in 2003, an NGO that exists to help women migrant workers who are living in Jordan. They primarily develop awareness campaigns, to help migrant workers know and assert their rights, and also give legal counsel when necessary on employment relations. One of their awareness campaigns resulted in over 120,000 text messages sent to mobile phones exhorting employers to treat their workers well, and over 2 million e-mails with the same message. She has also worked, since 2006, with as a program manager at the Jordanian National Commission for Women. In 2009, she was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking. In 2013, she became a Senior Program Specialist at the Doha International Family Institute, and serves as a regional gender advisor for the UN Social and Economic Commission for Western Asia.

In the 2014 TIP Report, Jordan was listed as a Tier 2 Country. It is a destination and a transit country for forced labor, and some sex trafficking. Much trafficking and abuse occurs to domestic migrant workers in Jordan, still today. Syrian refugees are also vulnerable to trafficking. The government officially established their first shelter in February 2014.

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