Saturday, July 19, 2014

Human Trafficking and Immigration Reform: The Refugee Crisis At Our Southern Border

This morning as I drove in there were two pre-teen boys standing on the overpass holding signs. As I slowed to read their messages, which were obviously written in their own somewhat sloppy script, one said, "Secure Our Border" and of course the other, "Impeach Obama".

To say this nation is weary of politicking when it comes to our immigration policies is an extreme understatement. The Twitter and Facebook feeds, the news headlines and op-ed columns are full of rants and pleas for resolution. No matter if you fall on the humanitarian side of the fence or the national security side, everyone agrees the status quo is unacceptable and the whole process is deeply flawed and broken.

There are no simple answers, there is no easy way out. There is only the critical need to come together for the sake of human dignity and to protect the most vulnerable among us. Here are the facts and the stories of those most at risk.

Homeland security reports there are 12,000,000 unauthorized immigrants in the USA. But according to border patrol agents this is closer to 20 million. “The more likely figure is 18-20 million and rising daily,” says Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, Inc. 

Whether it is 12 million or 30 million as some have claimed is not the issue. The reality is those are huge numbers that represent families living in limbo. And if the number does approach the 30 million mark, well then our sense of urgency must match it.

According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, 57% of unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico; 24% are from other Latin American countries, primarily from Central America; 9% are from Asia; 6% are from Europe and Canada; and 3% are from Africa and the rest of the world. The PHC also reported that in 2010, there are "1 million unauthorized immigrants under age 18 in the U.S., as well as 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents are unauthorized". 

That's 5.5 million potentially vulnerable children as a conservative estimate based on the number 12 million for unauthorized immigrants so that number could be two or three times higher. And the number of children immigrating alone is spiking exponentially, especially from Central America. The graphic below from The Economist.

Why the recent spike? What are these children fleeing from? The answers are deeply disturbing. This article from Vox is a must read to understand the current state of many Central American countries. The article reports "the murder rate in Honduras in 2012 was a whopping 30 percent higher than UN estimates of the civilian casualty rate at the height of the Iraq war. In other words, all three Central American countries were, statistically speaking, twice as dangerous for civilians as Iraq was."

This extreme violence is due to pandemic gang activity and children are uniquely vulnerable to gang violence. "The street gangs known as "maras" — M-18 and Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13 — target kids for forced recruitment, usually in their early teenage years, but sometimes as young as kindergarten. They also forcibly recruit girls as "girlfriends," a euphemistic term for a non-consensual relationship that involves rape by one or more gang members. If children defy the gang's authority by refusing its demands, the punishment is harsh: rape, kidnapping, or murder."

Below, with well over 60,000 members, Mara Salvatrucha (aka MS-13) is easily one of the largest and most feared criminal gangs in the world.

Two more articles that outline the terror that these children live in: from The Guardian, and The New York Times. The stories in these articles are graphic. Especially the NYT piece. But they are the true accounts of what these kids are running from. Please read them and let them crush your heart.

Along with this refugee crisis of children fleeing violence is the issue of human trafficking across our southern border. The State Department estimates up to 50,000 people are trafficked across our southern border with Mexico annually. This usually takes two forms.

1. Sex trafficking: young girls are brought into the US and forced into prostitution or are sold over and over again as sex slaves. A high profile case in Houston where Federal prosecutors described a trafficking ring that was selling young Mexican girls, "[they]fixed the prices for sex with the underage girls based on how young and pretty they were. The victims were kept locked in a room over the bar and regularly beaten by pimps and clients.The prices for the sex acts ranged from $65 for 15 minutes to up to $500 per hour." A quick Google search reveals endless stories of young girls tricked, coerced, or kidnapped and brought to the US as sex slaves. A 12 year old forced to service 25 men a day in a field under a tarp is one of many stories revealing the need to act now with relentless determination.

2. Forced labor: There are thousands of documented cases of forced labor in the US agriculture industry. From the tomato farms and citrus groves of Florida to the livestock ranches of Colorado workers are lured to the US with false promises and then coerced into slave labor. Many of the types of labor exploitation trafficking victims endure are touched on in this report from Free The Slaves.

According to  "Enslaved workers are taken to labor camps where they face brutality and a near-total loss of control over their lives. As many as 12-16 [workers] may be housed in one cramped, run-down trailer, kept under constant surveillance by employers using a variety of methods, including armed guards. Some endure a constant barrage of verbal abuse along with threats of violence and death to themselves and their families back home. In the most severe cases, employers use public beatings, pistol-whippings, and shootings to make an example of those trying to escape. In addition, women in forced labor are sometimes faced with sexual harassment and even violent sexual assault."

When workers are undocumented they are afraid to call police when abused. They fear retaliation, deportation, incarceration, or worse. And yet we continue to demand cheaper and cheaper goods in America. We continue to claim that these men and woman are doing the jobs Americans will not do (unauthorized immigrants make up 25% of farm workers (not including temporary workers)) making them vital to our economy. We continue to profit from this cheap, sometimes free labor and because of this we the people have been silent too long.

My heart here is to outline a possible solution which makes the very best of a very bad situation. One that brings ultimate resolution and safety for the vulnerable caught in this border-less labyrinth. I feel any reform bill must have these three points included to be just, effective, and compassionate. 

First: We must close our borders. We must do it to keep the children from being sold into sexual slavery here. We must so we will know who is here, know they are citizens and make sure they have full rights. So they are not scared to seek justice or medical care. So they can better themselves through education and the many opportunities this incredible nation affords its people. And going forward we must enforce the law. A society who protects the weakest among its people is one who is governed by compassion and the rule of law. We must at the same time always and perpetually have open doors to all those who are fleeing persecution and abuse.This is what has always made America amazing, it is what I would love my country to be known for again. We cannot solve all the worlds problems. We cannot end all the abuses that send people fleeing. But when those that are desperate for freedom come to American shores we can say to them, "you are welcome here, you are safe now, you are family."

Second: We must give amnesty to those who are already here. We have benefited from their hard work and cheap labor. Those who have fake social security numbers have paid into a retirement they will never see. Money the US government is glad to have and use. We must fast track these unauthorized immigrants to citizenship. Not superseding the ones who have immigrated legally but with an urgency that admits that what we have is not an immigration crisis but a refugee one. Once these immigrants are in our system then those few that are dangerous felons can be deported. 

Third: We must take political expediency and opportunism out of the equation. Whether we suspend the right of those unauthorized immigrants receiving amnesty to vote for an election cycle or two; this is a small price to pay for not giving political parties a voter base they can leverage. Our response to this humanitarian crisis must be apolitical and dignified. We must restore the humanity to this deeply troubled situation. This is not about what is best for America anymore. This is about what is right, what is ethical, what is good. We the people have eaten the fruits picked by bruised and broken hands. We the people have worn the cotton picked by beaten and bloodied backs. We the people with bellies full while those who have labored without pay in our fields have gone hungry. No more.

We are a nation of immigrants who once proudly, compassionately proclaimed:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Have we become a nation of closed and hardened hearts? Have we long forgotten where we came from? Are we willing to do less for the scared and battered children of the world then we will for our own children? Are we willing to allow this refugee crisis to continue unabated?

I hope our collective response is a loud, resounding "No! Not on our watch, not now, not ever!"

Please contact your congressperson. You can do so here. Tell them what we have in America is a refugee crisis and you will not allow it to be politicized. Tell them you want reform now. If you agree with the some or all of the three points above then email them to your senators and representatives along with your ideas. Let them know your America is one of compassion. Let them know your vote is for human dignity and always for safe harbor of the persecuted. Please sign this petition. And thank you for caring about justice and opening your hearts with compassion. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Locust Effect: Why The End Of Poverty Requires The End Of Violence

In the following quote Gary Haugen sums up the title and the premise of his new book The Locust Effect. “Without the world noticing, the locusts of common, criminal violence are right now ravaging the lives and dreams of billions of our poorest neighbors.” It is rare, that a statement like this, one so enormous, so far reaching in its implications, so shocking in its claim can also be undeniably true. As with the holocaust or the purgings of Stalin or Mao's "great leap forward" that saw 45 million killed in 4 years, all humanity wonders aloud how this could be happening under our noses, "without the world noticing". They ask where the good people are? The collective ego assumes we have evolved past this sort of mass evil. Mr. Haugen goes on to indict us all.

“One would hope that if the world woke up to such a reality, it would swiftly acknowledge and respond to the disaster—but tragically, the world has neither woken up to the reality nor responded in a way that offers meaningful hope for the poor. It has mostly said and done nothing. And as we shall see, the failure to respond to such a basic need—to prioritize criminal justice systems that can protect poor people from common violence—has had a devastating impact on two great struggles that made heroic progress in the last century but have stalled out for the poorest in the twenty-first century: namely, the struggle to end severe poverty and the fight to secure the most basic human rights.”

Here are just a few statistics from The Locust Effect that we at COH found excruciating.

-29.8 million men, women and children enslaved today

-70% of women in Peru have been the victims of rape or attempted rape.

-95% of women and girls who have reported sexual violence are still waiting for justice. Average wait time 6 years for those that finally get justice. Most do not.

-Only 5 perpetrators of forced labor in India have been arrested in the last 15 years. There are upwards of 10 million enslaved in India in forced labor.

-Worldwide there are nearly 2 million children in the sex trade.

-Every year 5 million people are the victims of forced eviction. 

-In the developing world school is the most prevalent place for sexual violence. This means more girls denied education when parents keep them home to keep them safe. And of course many girls dropping out of school traumatized by the sexual violence.

-And finally, the statistic that brings this all together in staggering, mind-bending soul-crushing fashion, 4 billion of the world's poorest people are estimated to live outside of the protection of the law.

In the absence of enforced law the strong take from the weak whenever they desire. Land, sex, physical labor; all the poor have, coerced or stolen or worse from them all across the developing world. The problem is deeply complex, rooted in and mired by years of bad governance and inattention by the world community. And though it speaks to the wickedness men are capable of it also reveals how this same wickedness can be kept in relative check where there is rule of law. Please read this book. It will change how you understand poverty, how you view the world. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Child Pornography and Human Trafficking in the News

New research shows that Internet pornography is more addictive than cocaine and heroine — and that it “literally changes the physical matter within the brain so that new neurological pathways require pornographic material in order to trigger the desired reward sensation”. And current trends suggest that the material desired is of an increasingly violent nature and of younger and younger victims. The rate of production of child pornography is eclipsing all other forms of porn production.

Though it is true that there are women who choose to be filmed sexually, any child filmed pornographically is always a coerced or forced victim and therefore they have been exploited. And if they have been transported or sold or rented for this purpose they have also been trafficked. The following articles are vile and horrific and they reveal an alarming escalation in the amount of child pornography being produced and children being violated. These stories involve some of the youngest victims of commercial sexual exploitation by some of the most perverse perpetrators the world has ever known. Please read them, let the horrors of these stories change you forever. Let them be the catalyst that makes you an abolitionist for life. Truly there is no one more voiceless than children. Please be their voice. Thank you.

Click the bold heading to be taken to the full articles. 

John Bidmead (above), 65, was caught red handed by police as he watched a child sex abuse movie on a 50-inch television, when they knocked on his front door with a warrant to arrest him. They found him in possession of one million child porn images including 24,000 images of adults violating children.

Stewart Matthew Kidwell (above), 36, of Blanchester, Ohio, was arrested today on charges that he sought someone online to rape a 4-year-old family member while he watched and that he distributed child pornography through a social media website.

Experts say New Zealanders seeking child pornography are increasingly demanding younger victims and more violent abuse. The Department of Internal Affairs has already blocked 34 million attempts, now upwards of a million a month, within New Zealand to access at least one of 582 child sex abuse sites blocked by government filters since 2010.

Tommy Lee Waugh (above), 29, of Wartburg, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday morning to production of child pornography. Authorities rescued a 5-week old infant baby girl in his care that he had sexually abused, recorded it, and shared the images over the internet.

Bret Allan Nichols, 29, made an initial appearance in federal court Tuesday on three counts, including producing child pornography, possessing it, and receiving and distributing it. A woman reportedly told agents that he would make payments of up to $200 to watch her and her husband have sex with their daughter.

Toronto Police Service Detective Constable Lisa Belanger (L) and Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins of the Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit (R) announce hundreds of arrests in a global child exploitation investigation.
Nearly 400 children have been rescued and 348 adults arrested following an international child pornography investigation. A pornography site run by 42-year old Brian Way, sold and distributed images of child exploitation to over 50 counties. Police seized over 45 terabytes of data from the $4-million business that included images and videos of “horrific sexual acts against very young children that were some of the worst they have ever viewed." Among those arrested were 40 school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, six law enforcement personnel, nine pastors and priests and three foster parents.

A Broward county Florida man — who agents say was using a dead man's identity — was arrested Friday on allegations he was part of a child pornography conspiracy that victimized a baby girl and toddler. For now, the suspect is booked into the Broward County jail under the name that he gave to law enforcement: Cliff Shaw (above), age 48. "Shaw" and Jason Barber, 36, who lives in Las Vegas, are accused of creating and exchanging pornographic images of an infant girl, between 6 and 9 months old, and a female toddler.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Violence Against Women: A Lexicon, An Overview, A Call To Arms

Violence against women, or Gender-based violence (GBV) is pandemic. All research, all the diabolical data, every painful statistic suggests that it is growing, and in some cases exponentially so. The causes for these trends are complex and many, but the simplest truth lies in the desires of men, the marginalization of women and the apathy and ignorance of the un-involved. This lexicon with its devastating images is a call to arms. It is an antidote against ignorance and a light on the darkest evils committed among us. 

For continuity sake all definitions were sourced from Wikipedia unless otherwise footnoted. Some of those definitions have been edited for space sake or augmented for clarity. The pictures were gathered from the web and are not the property of COH. As always we are disinclined to post such pictures as they can further humiliate and exploit the victims of these crimes. It is with great reluctance that we do so, and only after considering that these are already in widespread use across the internet and many are used with the permission of the women to facilitate an end to the violence against future victims. In every sense we are deeply indebted to all who have studied these issues in depth and who work tirelessly to end these injustices. We bring these terms (alphabetically) and images together in one place as a tool for the justice fighters, for the voices for the voiceless, for the lovers of women and girls everywhere. Never give up, a society without women ceases to exist. A society where woman are not safe is the very definition of barbarism and the absence of society itself. From all of us at Conspiracy Of Hope, thank you beyond all our words.

Acid Throwing 

Acid throwing, also called an acid attack or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault defined as the act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another with the intention to disfigure, maim, torture, or kill. (This is usually directed at the face or the female sexual anatomy.)

Experts say that women and girls are victims in 75-80% of cases. Of the female victims, about 30% are under 18. Although 1,500 cases are recorded around the world every year, according to the Acid Survivors Trust International. "That is likely to be massively underreported," says Jaf Shah, ASTI executive director. "Most victims are fearful to report it to the police for fear of reprisal." India has an increasing problem with acid attacks. ASTI estimates that 1,000 take place there every year. BBC News 

Breast ironing 

Breast ironing (also known as breast flattening) is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl's breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. It is typically carried out by the girl's mother who will say she is trying to protect the girl from sexual harassment and rape, to prevent early pregnancy that would tarnish the family name, or to allow the girl to pursue education rather than be forced into early marriage. Mostly practiced in parts of Cameroon, where boys and men may think that girls whose breasts have begun to grow are ready for sex. The most widely used implement for breast ironing is a wooden pestle normally used for pounding tubers. Other tools used include leaves,bananas, coconut shells, grinding stones, ladles, spatulas, and hammers heated over coals. 

Obviously extremely painful and psychologically traumatizing. Young girls can have many life long health issues from the barbaric procedure, including inability to breast feed and higher risk for breast cancer.

Bride burning

Bride burning is where a groom or his family kills the bride due to his dissatisfaction over the amount or duration of the dowry. (Above, two survivors, scarred forever) Kerosene is most often used as the fuel and the practice is most common in India accounting for around 2,500 deaths per year in the country. In 1995, Time Magazine reported that dowry deaths in India increased from around 400 a year in the early 1980s to around 5,800 a year by the middle of the 1990s. A year later, CNN ran a story saying that every year police receive more than 2,500 reports of bride burning.

Child Brides and Forced Marriage

Child marriage is defined as a formal marriage or informal union before the age of 18. While child marriage is observed for both boys and girls, overwhelming majority are girls. It is related to child betrothal and unmarried teenage pregnancy. In some cases only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to importance placed upon female virginity. Other causes of child marriage include poverty, bride price, dowry, laws that allow child marriages, religious and social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, and perceived inability of women to work for money. Today child marriages are fairly widespread in parts of the world, especially in Africa, South Asia, Southeast and East Asia, West Asia, Latin America, and Oceania. The five nations with the highest observed rates of child marriages in the world, below the age of 18, are Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh and Guinea. Nations with greater than 20% rates of child marriages below the age of 15 are Niger, Bangladesh and Guinea. As you can imagine child brides are also victims to higher rates of spousal abuse due to their diminutive stature and lack of understanding as to what their rights are and what is acceptable. And children fleeing these unions are often stoned or killed in some other violent fashion.

Every year, an estimated 14 million girls aged under 18 are married worldwide with little or no say in the matter. As many as 39,000 a day. In the developing world, one in seven girls is married before her 15th birthday and some child brides are as young as eight or nine. More statistics and ways you can help at Girls Not Brides.

Dating abuse 

Dating abuse, or dating violence, is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. It is also when one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse/violence. This abuse/violence can take a number of forms: sexual assault, sexual harassment, threats, physical violence, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse, social sabotage, and stalking. It can include psychological abuse, emotional blackmail, sexual abuse, physical abuse and psychological manipulation.

According to Love Is Respect, one quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. Approximately 70% of college students say they have been sexually coerced. 

Date rape

Date rape refers to rape committed by a person, who could be a friend, acquaintance or stranger, against a victim. Commonly, date rape is referring to drug facilitated sexual assault or an acquaintance rape. Sexual assault is any sexual act done to someone without their consent. Drug facilitated sexual assault is any sexual assault where alcohol and/or drugs affect the victim's ability to give informed consent. Drug Facilitated Rape typically involves the use of a the "date rape drug" (Flunitraepam, Rohypnol, GHB (Liquid E or Liquid G) and/ or alcohol. It is quite common, but not limited to, many college campuses across the United States. According to recent studies, alcohol is the #1 drug used to facilitate a sexual assault. For rape which takes place on campuses, alcohol is being used in 90% of cases. Acquaintance rape is an assault or attempted assault usually committed by a new acquaintance involving sexual intercourse without consent.  Nearly 2/3 of all victims between the ages of 18 and 29 report that they had a prior relationship with their attacker.

Stories of date rape told by the victims.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. 

Laws on domestic violence vary by country. While it is generally outlawed in the Western World, this is not the case in many developing countries. For instance, in 2010, the United Arab Emirates's Supreme Court ruled that a man has the right to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he does not leave physical marks. The social acceptability of domestic violence also differs by country. While in most developed countries domestic violence is considered unacceptable by most people, in many regions of the world the views are different: according to a UNICEF survey, the percentage of women aged 15–49 who think that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances is, for example: 90% in Afghanistan and Jordan, 87% in Mali, 86% in Guinea and Timor-Leste, 81% in Laos, 80% in Central African Republic. Refusing to submit to a husband's wishes is a common reason given for justification of violence in developing countries: for instance 62.4% of women in Tajikistan justify wife beating if the wife goes out without telling the husband; 68% if she argues with him; 47.9% if she refuses to have sex with him.

Domestic Violence statistics in the USA

-One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

-An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

-85% of domestic violence victims are women.

-Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

Domestic Violence statistics Worldwide

-35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

-30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.

-Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner

More Statistics here from Women's Aid

Domestic Violence and Pregnancy

Pregnancy when coupled with domestic violence is a form of intimate partner violence (IPV) where health risks may be amplified. Abuse during pregnancy, whether physical, verbal or emotional, produces many adverse physical and psychological effects for both the mother and fetus. 

Domestic abuse can be triggered by pregnancy for a number of reasons. Pregnancy itself can be used a form of coercion and the phenomenon of preventing one’s reproductive choice is referred to as reproductive coercion. Studies on birth control sabotage performed by males against female partners have indicated a strong correlation between domestic violence and birth control sabotage, or reproductive coercion, such as replacing birth control pills with fakes, puncturing condoms, and threats and violence are examples of prevention of an individual's attempt to avoid pregnancy

Although pregnancy can also lead to a hiatus of domestic violence when the abuser does not want to harm the unborn child. The risk of domestic violence for pregnant women is greatest immediately after childbirth.

Other related facts:

-Unintended pregnancies are 2 to 3 times more likely to be associated with abuse than intended pregnancies. 

-Among adolescent populations females who experience IPV use condoms at low rates and are fearful of negotiating the use of condoms.

-In a study of sexually experienced women 15-19 in Uganda, surveys found that fourteen percent of women’s first sexual intercourse had been coerced. Of those, girls were far more likely to be having unprotected sex and to have had unintended pregnancies within the last six months compared to women who had not been sexually coerced.

-In Egypt, over 80% of rural women believe that beatings are sometimes justified and one of the most common reasons given as a just cause for beatings is refusing a man sex. This affects the ability of women to protect themselves from unwanted sexual contact and the consequences of sexual intercourse, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

 Dowry death

Above, children protest the dowry system and its death penalties. Below, a young survivor of an attempted dowry murder.

Dowry deaths are deaths of young women who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry. It is widespread in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and some regions of Africa. Pakistan has the highest reported rates of dowry-related deaths per 100,000 women in the world. In India, In 2010, there were 8391 reported cases of dowry death in the country. That works out to a shocking one death every hour approximately. Bride-burning is on the increase - just a decade ago, in 2000, there were 6995 cases.

Honor killing

An honor killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members. This crime is especially targeted against women. These atrocities are often the culmination of other crimes and human rights violations including rape, incest and child abuse. The use of the term 'honor' comes from a distorted belief held by the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family or community. Perpetrators committing these murders rationalize their actions, blaming victims for refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their relatives, having sex outside marriage, becoming the victim of rape, and even dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate.

These figures from Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, are considered estimates and are widely believed to be severe underestimates.  Due to lack of focused reporting and recording of Honour Killings internationally very little is known about the true extent of HBV worldwide. These don't figure in the large number of honour violence that may not be fatal.

-5000 honour killings internationally per year

-1000 honour killings occur in India per year

-1000 honour killings occur in Pakistan per year

-12 honour killings per year in UK per year

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." FGM is practiced as a cultural ritual by ethnic groups in 27 countries in sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East. It is typically carried out, with or without anesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife or razor. The age of the girls varies from weeks after birth to puberty; in half the countries for which figures were available in 2013, most girls were cut before the age of five.

The practice involves one or more of several procedures, which vary according to the ethnic group. They include removal of all or part of the clitoris and clitoral hood; all or part of the clitoris and inner labia; and in its most severe form infibulation is the removal of the labia minora (inner lips) and labia majora (outer lips). When the labial tissue heals, it forms a wall of skin and flesh across the vagina and the rest of the pubic area. By inserting a twig or similar before the wound heals, a small hole is created for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. The procedure is usually accompanied by the removal of the clitoris. The legs are bound together for two to four weeks to allow the labia to heal into a barrier. The procedure is usually carried out on young girls before the onset of puberty. It is used by practitioners to render women sexually inactive, unlikely to engage in intercourse, and the visibly intact barrier of infibulation assures a husband he has married a virgin. The barrier produced by infibulation is usually penetrated at the time of a girl's marriage by the forcible action of the penis of her husband, or by cutting the connected tissue with a knife. The procedure frequently results in organ damage, urinary incontinence, obstetric fistula, and death.

Around 125 million women and girls in Africa and the Middle East have undergone FGM. Over eight million have experienced Type III, which is predominant in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. The practice is an ethnic marker, rooted in gender inequality, ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics, and attempts to control women's sexuality. It is supported by both women and men in countries that practice it, particularly by the women, who see it as a source of honour and authority, and an essential part of raising a daughter well.

Female infanticide

Female infanticide is the deliberate killing of newborn female children or the termination of a female in utero through selective and forced abortions. The practice has been the cause of death for millions in China and India. In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. But in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, 121 (with plenty of Chinese towns over the 150 mark, mostly due to the countries one child policy). Azerbaijan is at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

Above, Chinese propaganda poster championing its one-child family planning policy. Below the rapid increase of female infant mortality since the inception of the policy.

In her book "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men", Mara Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance. By her count, gender-based abortions over the past three decades mean there are 163 million girls missing from the world.

Ms. Hvistendahl predicts that such a gross gender imbalance is a harbinger of very bad things to come. And rightly so, as Columbia economics professor Lena Edlund corroborates: "The greatest danger associated with prenatal sex determination is...that a significant group of the world's women will end up being stolen or sold from their homes and forced into prostitution or marriage."

Forced Pregnancy and Pregnancy From Rape

Forced pregnancy is the practice of forcing a woman to become pregnant, often as part of a forced marriage, or as part of a program of breeding slaves, or as part of a program of genocide. When a forced pregnancy leads to reproduction, it is a form of reproductive coercion. The statistics are hard to come by, they are convoluted and hidden in the shadows of other crimes.

Pregnancy is also a very real potential result of rape. Although claims have been made to the contrary, the current scientific consensus is that rape is as likely to lead to pregnancy as consensual sexual intercourse. Rape can cause difficulties during and after pregnancy, with potential negative consequences for both mother and child. Some statistics suggest over 90% of pregnancies in children 15 and under are due to rape by family members.

Estimates by one study concluded coerced sexual intercourse causes over 32,000 pregnancies in the United States alone each year. That same study revealed that among women aged 12–45, pregnancy occurred in 5% of victims of rape. A study of Ethiopian adolescents who reported being raped found that 17% subsequently became pregnant, and rape crisis centers in Mexico reported the figure the rate of pregnancy from rape at 15–18%. These numbers will always reflect a low rate as family abuse pregnancies are almost always covered up.

Forced prostitution 

Forced prostitution, also known as involuntary prostitution, is the act of performing sexual activity due to coercion by a third party. There are a wide range of entry routes into prostitution, ranging from "voluntary and deliberate" entry, "semi-voluntary" based on pressure of circumstances, and "involuntary" recruitment via outright force or coercion. Sexual slavery encompasses most, if not all, forms of forced prostitution.

Child prostitution, is ALWAYS forced prostitution because it is inherently non-consensual and exploitative, as children, because of their age (18 and under in most developing countries), are not legally able to consent to sex.

In many poorer countries, child prostitution is widespread, and numerous tourists from the Western World travel to these countries to engage in child sex tourism. Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico have been identified as leading hotspots of child sexual exploitation and forced prostitution.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 500,000 women are forced into prostitution each year. Most organizations set that number at 1.2 million. with 100,000 in the US alone.

It is also estimated that children make up 21% of forced sexually exploited labor in the private economy. And 80% of those are girls.

COH explicitly supports International Justice Mission in their work to end forced prostitution. And My Refuge House in their aftercare of girls freed from sexual bondage.

Genocidal rape 

Above, Bosnian woman is the victim of genocidal rape. Below, three Rwandian victims of the same, including one child.

Genocidal rape is a term used to describe the actions of a group who have carried out acts of mass rape during wartime against their perceived enemy as part of a genocidal campaign. During the Yugoslav civil war and the Rwandan genocide the mass rapes that had been an integral part of those conflicts brought the concept of genocidal rape to international prominence. While war rape has been a recurrent feature in conflicts throughout history, it has usually been looked upon as a by-product of conflict, and not an integral part of military policy. During the Rwandan genocide the violence took a gender specific form, with women and girls being targeted in a systematic campaign of sexual assault. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 were victims of rape

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) it is estimated that in 2011 alone there were 400,000 rapes. In the DRC the genocidal rape is focused on the destruction of family and communities. An interview with a survivor gave an account of gang rape, forced cannibalism of a fetus taken from an eviscerated woman and child murder. In the ongoing War in Darfur the Janjaweed militias have carried out actions described as genocidal rape, with not just women, but children also being raped, as well as babies being bludgeoned to death and the sexual mutilation of victims being commonplace.

Human trafficking 

Human trafficking is the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or for the extraction of organs or tissues, including surrogacy and ova removal. Trafficking is a lucrative industry, representing an estimated $32 billion per year in international trade. 

The facts:

-Estimates of human trafficking worldwide range from 20.9 to 27 million.

-The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 68% are held in forced labor exploitation, 22% in forced sexual exploitation and 10% in state-imposed forced labor.

-The ILO estimates that women and girls comprise 55% of all those in forced labor and 98% of all those in sex trafficking 

-According to the ILO, 74% are adults and 26% are children under the age of 18.

There is more that can be said about this issue than a library could hold, but to truly understand the devastation of this evil called human trafficking, as well as all the other forms of violence against women, it is necessary to read women and children's first hand accounts

Marital rape 

Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse. It can be equally, or even more, emotionally and physically damaging than rape by a stranger. Once widely condoned or ignored by law, spousal rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized. Still, in many countries, spousal rape either remains legal, or is illegal but widely tolerated, with the laws against it being rarely enforced. Traditional views on marriage which dictate that a woman must be (sexually) submissive to her husband continue to be common in many parts of the world. In one study in Haiti, 100% of the women interviewed did not consider forced sex by their husband as rape. In the US upwards of 15% of women have experienced spousal rape. Worldwide the numbers are mired in traditions that view women as property and punish them for speaking out against the patriarchal hegemony in marriage and sexuality.

Murder of Pregnant Women

Murder of pregnant women is a type of homicide often resulting from domestic violence. Pregnancy-associated death has become more commonly termed as pregnancy-associated homicide. and is he third leading cause of death for pregnant women. ABC News reported that about 20 percent of women who die during pregnancy are victims of murder but most sources put the rate at 10%. A Maryland study in 2001 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found "a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause". These killings span racial and ethnic groups. In cases whose details were known, 67 percent of women were killed with firearms. Many women were slain at home — in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens — usually by men they knew. Husbands. Boyfriends. Lovers. 

World wide the murder of pregnant women has been a function of genocide and warfare for centuries. And there are many documented cases of woman murdered and the unborn child in their womb being desecrated. Even in the event the woman wasn't killed for being pregnant, the psychological message to others is the same. No one, anywhere is safe.

Pornographic Violence

Research concerning the effects of pornography is concerned with multiple outcomes. Such research includes potential influences on rape, domestic violence and child sexual abuse. Viewers of novel and extreme pornographic images become tolerant to such images.  

89% of scenes in the ten most popular pornographic videos in the US contained either verbal or physical aggression. 94% of that violence was directed at women. Many men who view these images say that one reason they are drawn to specific types of porn is to allow them to fantasize about the things they want to do in real life. Those that abuse women in a sexual violent way have admitted to viewing porn in almost 100% of cases.

"Two hundred twenty-two undergraduate males were administered an “attitudes survey” examining pornography use, attitudes, and self-reported likelihood of rape or using sexual force. Nonviolent pornography was used by 81% of subjects within the last year, whereas 41 and 35% had used violent and sexually violent pornography, respectively. Twenty-seven percent of subjects indicated some hypothetical likelihood of raping or using sexual force against a woman. Discriminant function analysis revealed that use of sexually violent pornography and acceptance of interpersonal violence against women were uniquely associated with sexual force and rape." (from an abstract of a larger work entitled "Violent pornography and self-reported likelihood of sexual aggression" by Dano DemarĂ©, John Briere and Hilary M. Lips)

Rape as corrective measure 

Corrective rape is a hate crime in which a person, usually a woman, is raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The common intended consequence of the rape, as seen by the perpetrator, is to correct their orientation, to turn them heterosexual, or to make them act more in conformity with gender stereotypes. The term was coined in South Africa after well-known cases of corrective rapes of lesbians like Eudy Simelane and Zoliswa Nkonyana became public. Often suspected lesbians are raped by heterosexual men with a goal of punishment of "abnormal" behavior and reinforcement of societal norms.The crime is sometimes supervised by members of the woman's family or local community. Corrective rape has also been known to occur in Thailand, Ecuador, and Zimbabwe. Corrective rape and the accompanying violence can result in physical and psychological trauma, mutilation, HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy, and may contribute to suicide.

Sexual slavery 

Sexual slavery is slavery by means of sexual exploitation. Sexual slavery may include single-owner sexual slavery, ritualistic slavery sometimes associated with certain religious practices, such as devadasi in India and trokosi in Ghana/Togo/Benin, or forced prostitution. Sex trafficking is the most prolific type of sex slavery involving the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbor or receipt of persons, by coercive or abusive means for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Where that person is unable to leave through threat of violence or physical captivity, it would be considered sexual slavery in the strictest sense, but all sexual exploitation is generally considered sexual slavery. Woman are victims well over 90 percent of the time. With minor girls making up almost a third of that number.

There are over 100,000 women working as sex slaves in Turkey, of which half are children, a non-governmental organization has revealed in an extensive report on prostitution in the country.

Violence Against Prostitutes

In 2004 the homicide rate for female prostitutes in the United States was estimated to be 204 per 100,000. This figure is considerably higher than that for the next riskiest occupations in the United States during a similar period (4 per 100,000 for female liquor store workers and 29 per 100,000 for female taxicab drivers). 

Perpetrators include violent clients, pimps, and corrupt law-enforcement officers. Prostitutes themselves often take their clients to out of the way places where they are less likely to be interrupted, which is very convenient for their attackers. Being criminals in most jurisdictions, prostitutes are less likely than the law-abiding to be looked for by police if they disappear, making them favored targets of predators. According to a study conducted on one hundred and thirty people working as prostitutes in San Francisco, as adults in prostitution, 82% had been physically assaulted, 83% had been threatened with a weapon and 68% had been raped while working as prostitutes. 

This small list of terms by no means claims to be comprehensive, but is a precursor to a greater understanding of the dangers women face worldwide every second of everyday. There are no excuses that can be made for any of the violences listed above. We must choose today to protect the female species. She is and always will be the human element at the heart of the best of us, the deep tender inner strength of us, the compassion and conscience that makes this life more beautiful.