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A view of an year-old Bangladeshi sex worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 6, But with many families arriving in an already overcrowded city, with jobs hard to find, and with the family struggling to eat, the teenager eventually took one of the few jobs available. I had to buy food. I had to survive. The work hasn't brought the family a better life, however. Pakhi — who asked that her real name not be used — still lives with her parents and younger siblings in one cramped room, and most of her income goes to pay the rent and for her siblings' education.
We are in this situation because of the flood," she said, before turning silent. As it brings stronger floods, storms, droughts and heatwaves, climate change is making life harder for many of the world's poorest — including driving some women and girls into prostitution. Every year, more than 20 million people, on average, are forced to leave their homes and migrate elsewhere, either temporarily or permanently, to escape the ravages of an ever- more-extreme climate, according to a report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
Often it is women and girls who suffer most from such displacement, said Alexandra Bilak, the director of the centre. Much of the displacement associated with global warming so far is happening in poor countries, and "a large proportion of the migrants that come from rural areas to Dhaka come because of climatic reasons," said Saleemul Huq, director of the Dhaka-based International Centre for Climate Change and Development. In Bangladesh, considered one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts, hundreds of thousands of people a year are forced to leave their rural communities and migrate to urban slums as a result of sea level rise, violent storms, erosion and floods, Bilak said.
In , over , people in Bangladesh were displaced by disasters, according to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre figures, Bilak said. Nearly half of those were driven out by torrential rains, and "it was the poorest communities in the city of Dhaka that were disproportionally affected".
Steve Trent, director of the London-based Environmental Justice Foundation, said that as women and girls are pushed into urban slums and struggle to make a living there, some "will be forced into sex work and prostitution because they have no alternative". Another migrant forced into prostitution in Dhaka is Meera, 28, who became a sex worker more than a decade ago after tropical cyclone Sidr. The storm, which affected more than a million households in Bangladesh, destroyed her house in Madaripur District.