United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.
Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.
Ms Murad, a 23 year-old Yazidi woman and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived trafficking at the hands of ISIL, briefed the UN Security Council in the first-ever session on human trafficking, which was held during the presidency of the United States on December 16. 2016. She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014, and witnessing as ISIL fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was subject to grave abuses at the hands of ISIL fighters, and bought and sold various times.
A relentless advocate for victims, Ms. Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2016.” She has met with various heads of state and global leaders to raise the plight of Yazidi victims of trafficking. Her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador will mark the first time that a survivor of atrocities is given this distinction. During her Ambassadorship, Nadia will focus on advocacy initiatives and raising awareness around the plight of millions of victims of trafficking in persons, especially refugees, women, and girls.
The appointment ceremony will take place on September 16th, 3.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’ The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution. Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.
There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’ All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women. Prostitution is one of these violences.
Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’ Read the full article here
‘Mercy Sr. Angela Reed, who represents the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy International Association at the U.N. has conducted extensive research on the issue of sex trafficking in the Philippines and her native Australia.
“There is no quick fix or grand solution for eliminating the exploitation and commodification of people,” she said, stressing that the problem has its roots in poverty and related issues.’ Read the full article here
Sacred Space / A Garden of Dreams presents some reflections on Human Trafficking. To learn more go to this link Learn more about a new initiative SDG Alliance 8.7 – join forces globally to end child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. This initiative is launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
You might be wondering what SDG and 8.7 mean. SDG is Sustainable Development Goal and 8 is reference to Goal 8 and 7 is a target within the goal. SGD Target 8.7 calls on all to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour as an essential step to achieving decent work for all, full and productive employment and inclusive and sustained economic growth .See the document published on February 12th for more information.
There is a diagram showing the intersectionality of the sustainable development goals in relation to Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and the target 8.7 above.
Trafficking in persons is mentioned three times in the outcome document of CSW60 Paragraph 12 recognizing that trafficking in persons disproportionately affects women and girls. Paragraph 15 Trafficking in persons is listed as violence against women and girls and in the operative paragraph m ensure that the rights and specific needs of women and girls affected and displaced by trafficking in persons, are addressed in national and international plans, strategies and responses…
Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson will tomorrow represent Victoria at the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women annual conference.
The conference will help inform the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which is due to report on 29 March.
Ms Richardson – alongside Member for Melton Don Nardella and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas – will join other political leaders from around the world to attend the CSW60 conference on women’s empowerment and global equality at the UN headquarters in New York. READ MORE
Good Shepherd in Australia/New Zealand made a submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson
“Family violence is a national emergency. I want to see what the rest of the world is doing to prevent violence and improve the status of women so I can bring back their ideas to help Victorian families.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is determined to fix the broken system of family violence and we know this will only be possible if we also address gender inequality and do more to empower women.”
CSW 60 commences on Monday March 14, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in NY. The theme of the Commission this year is ‘Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.’ The review theme: ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. This is a review of the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh session of the Commission. All the official event of the Commission will be Webcast live or you can choose to check up later . This link will give you an overview and bring you to the various webcast
The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission is on the website and listed among the official document of the session. You can access one of the 6 languages into which it is translated HERE. The statement addresses the issue of prostitution and squarely names prostitution as a forms of violence against girls and women. ‘A system of prostitution is “incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person” as stated in the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949).’ The continuance of the system of prostitution undermines both dignity of the person and equality. Prostitution is enabled by a patriarchal system in which it is embedded.
On my way back to NY yesterday I watched two movies Suffragette and I am Malala. Suffragette is the history of ordinary women seeking to get the vote in the latter part of 19th and into the 20th century. We all know the story of Malala and the right of girls to be educated. As I think of these women and girls and the abolitionists of today with regard to ending prostitution or the threats levied against women human rights defenders around the world I wonder if much has changed! This is poignantly seen in the murder of Berta Cáceres from Honduras for her environmental work.
Patriarchy, corporate power and finance are very much interlinked. The continuance of the system of prostitution which undermines both dignity and equality is propagated by commercial interests in sexual exploitation. In fact, under patriarchy, we currently witness systems of commercial exploitation of women and girls being reframed as simply part of the market economy — the commercial sex industry — as if sexual slavery, inequality and gender-based violence are in some way extrinsic to this experience. The promotion of the commercial sex industry serves to legitimize prostitution, which is violence against women and girls.
‘Gender-based discrimination and inequalities, patriarchal structures that promote male sexual domination, and culturally imposed feminine gender stereotypes all contribute to the sexual exploitation of women and girls. These discriminatory attitudes inherently demean women, permitting objectification and commercialization and infringing their rights and dignity. The feminization of poverty and global migration patterns also foster the continuance of the system of prostitution of women and girls, abandoned widows and their daughters being a particularly vulnerable group.’
‘From long experience accompanying women who have been in prostitution, our organizations knows that prostitution is a form of gender-based violence that inflicts severe damage and risks the physical and psychological health of women and girls. It is the exercise of power and control of male access to female bodies from female genital mutilation to child marriage; from domestic violence to reproductive rights. The exchange of money for such access does not eliminate the violence women face in prostitution or the sex trade. We know that prostitution is a lucrative business, mostly controlled by criminal groups, and it is tightly linked to trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. The theoretical separation of the violence of trafficking and the inherent violence of prostitution serves only the criminals and profiteers; they are not separate phenomena. They are inextricably entwined with gender inequality and male dominance and the continued debasement of women.’