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Resources on Sexual Exploitation

2013 March 10

Survivor Stories

The organization Equality Now “advocates for the human rights of women and girls around the world by raising international visibility of individual cases of abuse, mobilizing public support…and wielding strategic political pressure to ensure that governments enact or enforce laws and policies that uphold the rights of women and girls.” Human trafficking is a central focus for the group, which emphasizes the need for survivors themselves to take leadership roles in the anti-trafficking movement.

“Society’s understanding of human trafficking and prostitution needs to change. In my country, people believe that prostitutes are criminals and buyers are the victims. This is wrong… Women are human beings, not commodities to be bought and sold.”                                                                                                                                                  —  Alma, Philippines

AlmaSurvivor Stories, a new yearlong campaign on the organization’s website, will offer – in their own words – the stories of survivors of sexual exploitation. In the first narrative on the site, Alma, then a young single mother in the Philippines, tells of taking a job as a waitress in a bar near a U.S. Military base, where she was gradually pressured – and ultimately forced – by her boss into prostitution. She’s now the director of a group that helps other women escape from sexual servitude. Watch for additional stories to be added on this page. (Alma on right in photo.)

Women Under Siege

“Good news! We were wrong! Women are not being raped in terrible numbers around the world in conflict!…I wish I could really say that.” That’s the lead that grabbed my attention when I stumbled across Lauren Wolfe’s thoughtful October, 2012, blog post, Rape in war: Are we getting it wrong?
          Wolfe is the Director of Women Under Siege, a Women’s Media Center initiative on sexualized violence in conflict. Her post was a response to questions raised in  “Sexual Violence, Education, and War: Beyond the Mainstream Narrative,” a report from a research center at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University. Mainstream media at the time (those that covered it at all) interpreted the report’s findings as suggesting that the issue of wartime rape has been overblown. Based on her own analysis — confirmed by the Simon Frazer researchers themselves — Wolfe uncovered a much more disturbing reality.
          I’d also recommend Wolfe’s December, 2012, piece in The Atlantic, Are Women Being Targeted in Syria?

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