Preventing Violence, Promoting Justice will provide the opportunity to explore and mobilize around the intersections between domestic violence, immigration, economic justice, health and other related movements for social justice between current frameworks, and toward building a movement rooted in our community values.
This documents the lack of access to reproductive and maternal care in post-earthquake Haiti, even with unprecedented availability of free healthcare services. The report also describes how hunger has led women to trade sex for food and how poor camp conditions exacerbate the impact of sexual violence because of difficulties accessing post-rape care. It looks at how recovery efforts have failed to adequately address the needs and rights of women and girls, particularly their rights to health and security.
Women and girls in Haiti are facing gaps in access to available healthcare services necessary to stop preventable maternal and infant deaths, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Serious gaps in access to healthcare services are harming vulnerable women and girls still displaced after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Aid efforts that lack effective mechanisms for monitoring and reporting shortcomings compound the problem.
The 78-page report, “‘Nobody Remembers Us’:Failure to Protect Women’s and Girls’ Right to Health and Security in Post-Earthquake Haiti,” documents the lack of access to reproductive and maternal care in post-earthquake Haiti, even with unprecedented availability of free healthcare services. The report also describes how hunger has led women to trade sex for food and how poor camp conditions exacerbate the impact of sexual violence because of difficulties accessing post-rape care. It looks at how recovery efforts have failed to adequately address the needs and rights of women and girls, particularly their rights to health and security. Haitian authorities and donors should take concrete steps to improve access to services and to protect the human rights of these women and girls, Human Rights Watch said.
More than 300,000 women and girls currently live in camps for displaced persons. Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 100 women and girls ages 14 to 42 in 15 displacement camps who were pregnant or had given birth since the earthquake.
Some described delivering their babies in tents, in the street, or alleys on the way to the hospital, or, in one case, on the street corner after a hospital turned her away for not being able to pay for a Caesarean section. Haiti had the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake, at 630 per 100,000 live births. The rate after the earthquake is unknown, and there is a lack of effective tracking of maternal or infant deaths in the camps.
“I just gave birth on the ground…I had no drugs for pain during delivery,” one woman told Human Rights Watch.
The January 2010 earthquake caused an estimated 222,000 deaths, injured 300,000 people, and displaced between 1.3 and 1.6 million people. Approximately 300,000 homes and much of the country’s infrastructure were damaged or destroyed, including 60 percent of hospitals in the affected areas.
Donors pledged $5.3 billion in recovery aid in line with a government-drafted post-earthquake recovery plan, with $258 million dedicated to health care. Although only $118.4 million of the health money has been disbursed, $130.6 million more is committed and nearing disbursement.
Aid agencies have worked hard to provide care, but many women and girls have not benefited, due to lack of information, poor transportation infrastructure, and unaffordable charges on services not covered by free care. As a result, women’s basic rights to health and security are being jeopardized, Human Rights Watch found.
Moreover, lack of coordination and data sharing on the part of donors and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working to provide health services has made it difficult for human rights monitors, and the government itself, to assess progress.
Many poor women and girls cannot pay for transportation to facilities providing free care, Human Rights Watch found. Some stop seeking care if they cannot afford tests they are told to obtain, such as a sonogram, or because they think, wrongly, that they cannot return to the hospital without the sonogram.
“With almost $260 million earmarked for health care, no woman should have to give birth on the street,” Roth said. “Women and girls have a right to life-saving care, including in adverse circumstances.”
The extreme vulnerability and poverty in the camps has led some women and girls to form relationships with men for the sake of economic security, or to engage in transactional or survival sex, such as the exchange of sex for food, Human Rights Watch found. This transactional sex takes place without adequate access to contraception and other reproductive health services, increasing the long-term vulnerability of the women and girls to unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
The vulnerability of Haitian women and girls to rape was a concern even before the earthquake. It is an even greater concern in the displacement camps, where some women’s groups have reported an especially high incidence of rape and sexual violence.
Emergency contraception and other post-rape care is available in some health facilities, but many rape victims don’t have access to this care for the same reasons that women and girls have difficulty accessing other health services: they lack basic information about what is available and where, or they have difficulty paying for transportation to reach the services. Some women and girls told Human Rights Watch they were too scared, ashamed, or traumatized by rape to seek care in the timeframe necessary for emergency contraception to be effective.
The government should do a better job of protecting women and girls from violence, and ensure that they have information on and access to post-rape care, Human Rights Watch said.
Ruhama launched its Annual Statistics Report for 2010 today (Monday 22nd August) and while it has been a challenging year with the organization sustaining significant statutory funding cuts, the work continues to develop and grow. In 2010 Ruhama worked with a total of 204 women, an increase on 2009 of4%. The number of new victims of trafficking referred into its services was comparable with 2009 and an increased number(9%) of women accessed support from the street outreach service.
The statistics reveal the globalized nature of the Irish sex trade, with the women supported by Ruhama in 2010 coming from 31 different countries. Sarah Benson, CEO, Ruhama said. “This truly exemplifies the global nature of prostitution and trafficking and reflects the complexity of a frontline response such as that offered by Ruhama. We are constantly adapting to ensure that we are mindful and respectful of the diverse cultural backgrounds of the women accessing our services.”
The location of new victims of trafficking in this year’s report highlights the reality, that the exploitation of women in the sex trade is no longer an urban issue but is well established in smaller rural regions of Ireland. The majority of new referrals to Ruhama were women involved in indoor prostitution (ie escort agencies, brothels)
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The report looks at how traffickers operate, what kinds of victims are exploited, and most importantly, what governments are -- and in some cases are not -- doing to protect vulnerable people. For example, the report describes the psychological strategies that pimps use to gain control over the millions of victims exploited in the global commercial sex trade.
A human rights commission report estimates that 10,000 women are victims of human trafficking in Mexico City, but there were only 40 investigations of the crime and three convictions in the city in 2010.
In January through March of 2010, SPLC researchers interviewed approximately 150 women who were either currently undocumented or have spent time in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. The women all have worked in the U.S. food industry in Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, New York or North Carolina. A few have now obtained legal status. Researchers also interviewed a number of advocates who work with immigrant women and farmworkers. The interviews were conducted almost exclusively in Spanish, and recordings were transcribed and translated into English.
From the report summary:
Facts About Immigrant Women Working in the U.S. Food Industry
Undocumented women are among the most vulnerable workers in our society today. They fill the lowest paying jobs in our economy and provided the backbreaking labor that helps bring food to our tables. Yet they are routinely cheated out of wages and subjected to an array of other abuses in the workplace. They are generally powerless to enforce their rights or protect themselves. The following are facts from the SPLC report Injustice on Our Plates.
There are an estimated 4.1 million undocumented women in the U.S. today. In addition, 4 million U.S.-born children — citizens by birthright — live in a household with at least one undocumented parent.
Undocumented women typically earn minimum wage or less, get no sick or vacation days, and receive no health insurance.
Legalizing undocumented workers would raise the U.S. gross domestic product by $1.5 trillion over a decade. On the other hand, if the government were to deport all 10.8 million undocumented immigrants living on U.S. soil, our economy would decline by $2.6 trillion over a decade, not including the massive cost of such an endeavor.
Each year, undocumented immigrants contribute as much as $1.5 billion to the Medicare system and $7 billion to the Social Security system, even though they will never be able to collect benefits upon retirement.
There are an estimated 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers employed in the United States.4 The federal government estimates that 60 percent of farmworkers are undocumented immigrants; farmworker advocates say the percentage is far higher.
The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) published by the Department of Labor reports that about 22% of the farmworker population is female. Thus, there are an estimated 630,000 women engaged in farm work in the United States.
The average personal income of female crop workers is $11,250, compared to $16,250 for male crop workers.
A mere 8 percent of farmworkers report being covered by employer-provided health insurance, a rate that dropped to 5 percent for farmworkers who are employed seasonally and not year-round.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, farmworkers suffer from higher rates of toxic chemical injuries and skin disorders than any other workers in the country. The children of migrant farmworkers, also, have higher rates of pesticide exposure than the general public.
Each year, there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 cases of physician-diagnosed pesticide poisoning among U.S. farmworkers, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Farmworkers are not covered by workers’ compensation laws in many states. They are not entitled to overtime pay under federal law. On smaller farms and in short harvest seasons, they are not entitled to the federal minimum wage. They are excluded from many state health and safety laws.
Because of special exemptions for agriculture, children as young as 10 may work in the fields. Also, many states exempt farmworker children from compulsory education laws.
Almost a quarter of the workers who butcher and process meat, poultry and fish are undocumented.
At least half of the 250,000 laborers in 174 of the major U.S. chicken factories are Latino and more than half are women.
Working in a chicken factory is one of the most dangerous occupations in America. Line workers endure a frigid and wet work environment, without adequate bathroom breaks, while being exposed to numerous hazards handling chicken on hangers that whiz by a rate of hundreds per minute. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not enacted any regulation to limit the speed at which poultry and meat processing lines operate — despite the appallingly high rates of injury directly attributable to the line speed. In the decade ending in 2008, 100 poultry workers died in the U.S., and 300,000 were injured, many suffering the loss of a limb or debilitating repetitive motion injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor surveyed 51 poultry processing plants and found 100% had violated labor laws by not paying employees for all hours worked. Also, one-third took impermissible deductions from workers’ pay.
Sexual Abuse On the Job
In a recent study of 150 women of Mexican descent working in the fields in California’s Central Valley, 80% said they had experienced sexual harassment. That compares to roughly half of all women in the U.S. workforce who say they have experienced at least one incident.
While investigating the sexual harassment of California farmworker women in the mid-1990s, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that “hundreds, if not thousands, of women had to have sex with supervisors to get or keep jobs and/or put up with a constant barrage of grabbing and touching and propositions for sex by supervisors.”
A 1989 article in Florida indicates that sexual harassment against farmworker women was so pervasive that women referred to the fields as the “green motel.” Similarly, the EEOC reports that women in California refer to the fields as “fil de calzon,” or the fields of panties, because sexual harassment is so widespread.
Due to the many obstacles that confront farmworker women — including fear, shame, lack of information about their rights, lack of available resources to help them, poverty, cultural and/or social pressures, language access and, for some, their status as undocumented immigrants — few farmworker women ever come forward to seek justice for the sexual harassment and assault that they have suffered.
In interviews for this report, virtually all women reported that sexual violence in the workplace is a serious problem.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most intractable and complex issues on the global policy agenda that will affect one out of three women during her lifetime. According to the United Nations, this phenomenon is a major obstacle to achieving equality, development, and peace. To build a collective response, the National Council for Research on Women, in partnership with the US National Committee for UN Women (previously, UNIFEM USNC), gathered experts at Hunter College in New York for a joint conference (June 11-12, 2010).
March is International Women’s Month! Our special guest for the March 22nd broadcast is Shyama Venkateswar, Director of Research and Programs for the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW). We’ll discuss the work of NCRW and the perils women around the world are facing. Economic struggles, education and health care are topics we will explore as we seek answers on how to improve the lives of women and girls. Tuesday, March 22th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to listen to Shyama Venkateswar of NCRW. We will also broadcast special selections of international music from women recording artists around the world. Visit host Lyn Twyman’s site at http://www.lyntwyman.com/
Submitted by sbanerjee on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 2:45pm
For this year's International Women's Day, New York University's Wagner Women's Caucus (WWC) is pleased to present a Special Screening of the Documentary REDLIGHT. This important documentary looks at the issue of child trafficking and sex trafficking in Cambodia (a full summary follows below).
After the screening there will be a special Q&A with the Filmmaker and Founder of RedLight Children, Guy Jacobson, and Co-Founder and President of the Nomi Network, Diana Mao.
Co-Sponsors for the event are APASA, SCJR, WISS, Humanus Group, IPSA, WPA, The Nomi Network, and RedLight Children. Location: Rudin Family Forum, 295 Lafayette St., 2nd Floor New York, NY 10012 (The Puck Building) Date: Tuesday, March 8th, 3:00-6:00 PM RSVP: http://wagner.nyu.edu/events/wwc-03-08-2011