Darfur Genocide
The Darfur Genocide is one of the worst human rights abuses of modern time. Over 90 diverse tribes and sub-clans populate the region of Darfur which is located in western Sudan. With a pre-conflict population of 6 million people, tensions within the region leading to the Darfur Genocide were produced by multiple interconnected factors including ethnic conflict, economic instability and political opportunism.

The level of violence and destruction at the height of the Darfur genocide was staggering. In 2005, the Coalition for International Justice interviewed 1,136 Darfur refugees located in 19 camps in neighboring Chad. A staggering 61 percent of the respondents noted that they had witnessed the killing of one of their family members.

 

Top 10 Darfur Genocide Facts:

 

  1. In 1989, then-General Omar al-Bashir seized control of Sudan through a military coup. The country was in the middle of a 21-year civil war between the North and South regions when the leader came to power and tensions continued to build. Conflicts began to increase within the ethnically diverse Darfur and weapons started flowing into the area due to a struggle for political control.
  2. The conflict escalated in 2003 when two non-Arab rebel groups within Darfur, the Sudan Liberian Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, accused the government of neglecting the region and took up arms against it. The Sudanese government, led by al-Bashir, quickly responded with a counter-insurgency campaign against the rebels and began backing a brutal Arab militia known as the Janjaweed. Civilians within the country were the ones to ultimately pay the price for the escalating violence and began receiving a barrage of attacks from the government, pro-government troops and rebel groups.
  3. The dispute is generally racial and not religious in nature. Muslim Arab Sudanese (the Janjaweed militia group) systematically targeted, displaced, and murdered Muslim black Sudanese individuals within the Darfur region. The victims are generally from non-Arab tribal groups.
  4. According to the United Human Rights Council, over 400 villages were completely destroyed through the conflict, forcing mass amounts of civilians to be displaced from their homes. The Janjaweed would set out to destroy the houses and buildings within the community, shooting the men and gang-raping the women and children. Families would be separated and killed. Those who escaped the brutal onslaught would then be faced with an arduous journey to find refuge.
  5. Many citizens fled the violence and relocated to refugee camps within the area and neighboring Chad. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, approximately two million individuals are still displaced due to the violence, with the majority having left their homes between 2003 and 2005 — the height of the conflict.
  6. Malnutrition, starvation and disease were serious concerns. Residents have been able to receive limited humanitarian assistance during the conflict due to the Sudanese government hindering aid efforts within the region and violence against humanitarian programs already in place. According to UNICEF, attacks on humanitarian vehicles, convoys, and compounds are common, impacting the availability of vital aid services. Approximately 25 to 30 international relief organizations have left the area due to security concerns or have been expelled by the government, as reported by The Washington Post.
  7. In June 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched investigations into the human rights violations occurring in Darfur. According to the United Human Rights Council, the government refused to cooperate with the investigations and denied any connection with the Janjaweed militia group.
  8. On March 4, 2009, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first-ever sitting president of a country to be indicted by the ICC for directing a campaign of mass killing, and rape against civilians in Darfur. His accusations according to the BBC include crimes of humanity including murder, extermination, rape and torture, as well as war crimes including attacks on civilians in Darfur, and pillaging towns and villages.
  9. The United Nations estimates that as many as 300,000 individuals have been killed since the start of the Darfur conflict in 2003. The majority of these casualties are from civilian men, women and children who lived within communities throughout the area.
  10. While the conflict has eased, it is by no means over. According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, levels of violence have increased since the start of 2013. Approximately 400,000 individuals were displaced from their homes during the first half of 2014 alone as the Darfur crisis persists.

Lauren Lewis

Sources: BBC, United Human Rights Council, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Darfur Australia Network, UNICEF, The Washington Post, Sudan Research, Analysis, Advocacy
Photo: Haiku Deck

women's bodies
In many places around the world, women and young girls are viewed as commodities. Whether or not they are raped themselves, women’s bodies are used to atone for crimes committed by others. More than 700 million women alive today were married under 18, and more are used as a way to bring justice to criminals.

In some countries, it is legal for a rapist to escape prosecution if he marries his victim, who is usually a minor. This practice is allowed in Algeria, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia. The law was also up for debate in Mozambique earlier this year. Even in places where the law is not on the books, often rural, traditional customs allow for it.

This year, a man in Zimbabwe raped a 14-year-old girl. He had been harassing her, and her grandmother told her to marry him. After the rape, her grandmother continued insisting she marry the man, and he took her away from her home. Against the law of the state, he called her his wife and continued raping her until her mother paid for her bus fare to get home.

A 13-year-old girl in India also reported that cops forced her to marry one of her attackers after being gang-raped.

The motivation behind the marriages has to do with honor. Girls who lose their virginity are seen as worthless, or unable to find a husband, so their families will often marry them off to their rapist in order to restore their honor. Some countries do not view marital rape as a crime, so anything happening within marriage is seen as honorable. Sometimes there is external pressure to force their child into marriage.

In 2012, 15-year-old Amina Filali killed herself by ingesting rat poison after she was forced to marry her rapist. She endured continued rapes and beatings before committing suicide. Her family and her rapist’s family agreed to have the two married, in part because of honor, but also because of pressure from authorities.

Families also force children into marriage because of war. Child marriage is seen as protection from the raping and kidnapping that often happens in conflicts.

Honor is a major factor, and rape causes shame for the victim, not the attacker. Sometimes the quest for honor affects justice for rape victims. In Northern Africa, the punishment for rape depends on whether the victim is a virgin or not. In Pakistan, although a Women’s Protection Bill was passed in 2006, if a woman is of “generally immoral character,” punishments are not as severe or are completely ignored.

A Somali girl named Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was gang-raped by three men in 2007. The family reported the incident to the militia, but instead of prosecuting the perpetrators, Aisha was stoned to death. According to the local police force, she had committed adultery.

The honor associated with young girls’ virginity extends beyond their own sexual experiences. Sometimes local law will allow young girls to be raped because of crimes committed by family members. The idea is that a girl’s loss of virginity is a blow to the entire family’s honor, so the crime of the family can be paid by her body.

This year, in a northern Indian village, a leader ordered the rape of a 14-year-old girl. Her brother had sexually assaulted another woman. The victim’s husband was to carry out the rape himself, while she received no assistance. A 22-year-old was ordered to be gang-raped by 13 of her neighbors for going outside her community for a relationship. A 24-year-old was gang-raped because her brother eloped with another man’s wife. She was then forced to marry one of her attackers.

All of these women’s bodies are being used in the name of justice. The highest reports of rape come from Europe and America, but the social stigma, discriminatory laws and patriarchal culture of some areas of the world prevent women from speaking out against their attackers.

Women fear the consequences of speaking out. Sometimes they are not even related to a crime, but their bodies are used to exact “justice,” anyway.

– Monica Roth

Sources: Amnesty International 1, Amnesty International 2, Al Jazeera America, Jezebel, UNICEF, Mumbai Mirror, The Nation, The Daily Beast, NewsdzeZimbabwe
Photo: The Daily Beast

When a man in India was accused of assaulting a neighbor’s wife, the village leaders ordered a horrendous punishment: the rape of that man’s 14-year-old sister. The neighbor was instructed to carry out the rape, which occurred sometime after midnight on Sunday and daytime on Monday. The punishment–called revenge rape–is not uncommon in rural India.

In January, another council of village elders ordered the gang rape of a 20-year-old in West Bengal for being involved with a man from another community. She was beaten, raped and later died from injuries, as they had also raped her with a metal pole. And a year ago, a 24-year-old woman in northern India was forced to marry a man and was then gang raped as punishment for her brother’s elopement.

In most of rural India, women are still viewed as the property of their families and even their communities. Though rape outside of marriage is illegal in India, eye-for-an-eye revenge rape is still part of the tradition.

“If you want to hurt the husband, hurt the father or hurt the community, then you rape the woman to say, ‘All right, I’m soiling your goods,'” explains secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association Kavita Krishnan.

The rapist’s wife defends his actions. Her father was reportedly one of the village elders that ordered the revenge rape.

The mother of the 14-year-old victim told CNN that she had begged the council members and fellow villagers to stop the rape of her child, but no one did anything.

“We begged with folded hands but they would not listen. They dragged her away to the forest,” the mother recalled.

The young teen’s parents found their daughter bleeding an hour after the violent rape and took her to the police station. According to the police spokesperson, her clothes were smeared with blood. Later, she was admitted to the hospital because of renewed bleeding and difficulty walking.

The Indian police have arrested the rapist, his father-in-law and the attempted rapist from the week prior. However, securing a conviction and then keeping that conviction from being overturned is difficult in India. Only 1 out of 635 rape cases reported in India in 2011 have resulted in conviction. Though the Delhi attack has begun a reformation of women’s rights, the laws are not well enforced in rural India, and marital rape is still legal.

– Kimmi Ligh

Sources: NPR,  Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal 1, The Wall Street Journal 2, RYOT, NY Daily News, USA Today, National Post
Photo: NY Daily News

rape
Bollywood, the large Hindi-language film industry based out of Mumbai, India,  is speaking out against rape and the abuse of women. Seeking to spread awareness about these issues within and without the industry, the campaign’s targeted audience is all people throughout the country. The initiative is led by a top radio station, with actor John Abraham as its ambassador. The entire movement utilizes the slogan, “Now the nonsense ends, change begins.”

The focus is on women’s safety at work, at home and in public spaces, which builds on previous campaigns emphasizing the need to change sexist language and to stop acid attacks against women. Bollywood is attempting to draw pressing issues within Indian society into the spotlight.

On the radio, celebrities like Abraham have begun to use their influential positions to voice their backing for the anti-rape movement. This comes as a pivotal change because in the past, stars normally avoided speaking on any pressing social issues.

The public outcry and protests after the 2012 gang rape and death of a young woman in Delhi are in large part responsible for the change in attitude. While a number of celebrities were advocates for social change before, the shocking Delhi incident resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of movie stars and individuals in the general public taking a stand against rape culture.

Celebrities’ participation in the anti-rape effort helps maintain the pressure to change both social and political views on rape. In India, like in many countries, rape is a critical problem. The number of reported cases increased by 902 percent from 1971 to 2012. Due to social stigma and shame, many cases still go unreported.

Although the backbone of India’s anti-rape movement remains predominantly with the public and the media, Bollywood stars’ involvement is helping to strengthen and sustain it. For example, actor and director Farhan Akhtar is using many different media outlets to lead the MARD, Men Against Rape and Discrimination, which seeks to redefine the perception of masculinity.

Others are making movies that directly address the issue of gang rape, such as producer Siddhartha Jain’s film “Kill The Rapist?” Scheduled to premiere in October 2014, the movie allows audiences to participate in deciding what should happen to the rapist in the story. The overarching message of the film aims to deter potential rapists and engage the public about the need to report rapes.

And all of these efforts appear to be bringing change. In the capital alone, the number of reported rape cases increased dramatically from 433 in 2012 to 1,036 in 2013.

The film industry, though, has often reaffirmed misogynist culture on screen by objectifying women and even, at times, condoning sexual harassment in their movies. Despite the fact that not all of Bollywood has completely shed its sexist and male-dominated ways, the stance many stars are taking demonstrates that both the industry and all of India can change their attitudes about women.

Although completely redefining public opinion about rape and the role of women in society will not occur overnight, the positive steps taken in the public, the media and in Bollywood have made the issue part of the mainstream dialogue. With continued efforts to raise awareness and encourage conversation, the people of India seek to better protect and value the rights of women.

– Kathleen Egan

Sources: Aljazeera, The Scotsman, The Washington Post
Photo: Curry Culture

reproductive health
Modern conflicts continue to uphold the old adage “when elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.” Women and young children are the most vulnerable members of society for a variety of reasons, meaning they must endure the hard end of the stick when conflict rolls through their communities.

Children are vulnerable for obvious reasons – they are physically weak, ideologically malleable and typically do not have nearly as many financial resources as adults. Their plight is apparent on the United States’ southern border, where thousands of Central American children are seeking shelter after fleeing rampant violence in their home countries.

Women also lag behind men concerning access to financial resources. Widows are left in a rough position after their husbands are killed during armed conflict, having to care for their children and make a livelihood in the absence of a male head-of-household. In addition, rape is a prominent consequence of war and can leave the victim physically, emotionally and socially scarred. Women are often the target of sexual violence, which leaves stigma, disease and unwanted pregnancies in its wake.

Women are most exposed to the setbacks of conflict when they are with child. The World Health Organization reports that out of the 10 countries with the highest maternal mortality rates, eight of them are experiencing conflict.

A recent publication by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that, “Conflict can negatively impact all aspects of reproductive health, directly through damage to services, gender-based violence and forced displacement of populations, and indirectly through reductions in the availability of basic health care and breakdown of normal social institutions.”

The RCOG report also states that humanitarian emergencies lead to 170,000 maternal fatalities each year, and that 15 percent of displaced women face life-threatening complications during pregnancy.

Conflict prevents women from accessing reliable contraceptives as well. An increase in unwanted pregnancies leads to a rise in dangerous abortion practices, which account for 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide.

In light of rising global migration and ongoing conflicts, humanitarian workers must continue to be particularly sensitive to reproductive health issues if they wish to help the most exposed victims of violence.

– Kayla Strickland

Sources: Tech Times, Trust.org
Photo: Flickr

Rape_In_India
Last month, two girls were found hanging from trees in India’s Katra village. Another woman claimed she was gang-raped by four police officers. India has had a women’s rights problem for a while now, yet it is only increasing, despite more strict laws. The body of a 19-year-old was just recently found hanging by her scarf from a tree in Uttar Pradesh, making her the state’s fourth female victim in only two weeks.

Rape in India is a rising problem, yet one that is not easily solved. According to official statistics, around 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, though the number is thought to be much higher due to a common fear of punishment and social stigma. Simply, the problem lies in attitude, not a lack of legislation or protection. “Even though the laws are there, many people feel they can get away with anything, an attitude that some of our politicians have gone out of their way to encourage,” said Ranjana Kumari, a prolific women’s rights activist in New Delhi.

Certain politicians have only exacerbated the problem. Earlier this June, Madhya Pradesh state Home Minister, Babulal Gaur (who oversees police,) claimed that rape was a “social crime,” which depended on the man and woman. “It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.” Gaur’s statements came just months after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav opposed the death penalty for rape, claiming “boys will be boys. Sometimes they make mistakes.”

The most recent victim was thought to have been raped and murdered by two men who she told her family had been bothering her. While they have filed a report claiming their suspicions in her death, the case is basically smoke and mirrors: a district police officer told the New York Times that a preliminary postmortem examination found no evidence to suggest rape.

Unfortunately, this ability for men to “get away” with their crimes is exactly what has caused it to spread to this extremity. “This is not something that is particular for Uttar Pradesh,” said Amnesty International India’s senior researcher, Divya Iyer, on the most recent death. “These sporadic news of rapes bring the issue to the fore, but it is important to see it as a continuum. For every case of rape, there are many more that are not reported, because of the stigma attached and the fear of reprisals. It is important to hold politicians accountable for their statements in order to send the right signals to the community.”

— Nick Magnanti

Sources: Fox News, Religion News, Time, NY Times
Photo: Asia Society

sexual_violence_in_the_DRC
Since military conflicts erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the 1990s, rates of sexual violence have increased significantly and become a major issue across the region. Though conflict in the DRC officially ended in 2003, fighting has continued and taken more than 5 million lives since the war began almost 20 years ago.

Sexual violence in the DRC, along with related crimes, have been called the worst in the world, particularly in the eastern region of the country. A study from the American Journal of Public Health states that in the DRC, 1,152 women are raped every day, and an estimated 12 percent of the female population of the DRC has been raped at least once.

Research has shown that many of the sexual attacks are related to armed conflict, and thus, the United Nations Development Program is helping the DRC strengthen its military justice program to make it fair, just and constructive in helping sexual violence victims.

Across the regions, trials are taking place following years of conflict and acts of violence in the DRC. Many soldiers have not been punished for their actions due to their special treatment in the military system, but the civilian courts are working their way through cases with the support of the UNDP. Thirty-one convictions and 9 investigative missions into serious war crimes under the International Criminal Court have resulted from UNDP support.

“It was important that the case be tried here because it is the exact location where the incidents [of rape and murder] occurred,” said Captain Magistrate Bienvenu Muanansele, from the Tribunal Militaire de Garnison de Goma. “These trials held before the people of Bweremana show the people how justice does its job. The law prevails, even for the military.”

The UNDP is also supporting the DRC military in training soldiers to understand the law, the consequences of violent attacks against civilians and human rights. A total of 2,432 soldiers and officials have gone through this training process.

In addition to these steps to reduce violent acts by soldiers, many organizations are working to provide support and community for female sexual violence victims. Masika is a rape victim and founder of a rescue center for sexual violence survivors. After being exiled by her parents in-law, she decided to offer community and support to other women who had experienced sexual assault. Following an army attack in the nearby marketing town of Minova, 130 rape victims came to Masika’s camp.

The stigma against rape victims in the DRC is so severe that in many cases, women are exiled from their families and ostracized. However, women support groups are beginning to provide community as rapists are being brought to justice.

An organization called SAMWAKI, or A Voice to Rural Women in Swahili, works to provide information and training for rural women through community radio. The group aims to increase women’s knowledge on topics from health to farming, and provides listening groups for victims to share their experiences.

Similarly, AFEM (L’Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu) offers journalism training and a space for women to be a voice for sexual violence survivors. Founded by young journalist Chouchou Namegabe, the organization aims to increase women’s representation in the media.

While sexual violence in the DRC continues to be one of the worst cases in the world, both international and domestic groups are working to end the normalization and prevalence of rape. Gradually, soldiers and sexual assailants are being brought to justice, and women are coming together, speaking out and finding community.

— Julia Thomas

Sources: UNDP, The Independent, The Guardian, Washington Post
Photo: ICMHD

rape_in_liberia
When the 14-year civil war in Liberia came to an end in 2003, it seemed that the country could begin the road to recovery, slowly but surely. Despite the economic improvements made, women and girls have continued to be victims of rape at alarming rates.

During the war, children and adults used rape against women to instill fear, cause further destruction and assert superiority. When the war ended, the rape in Liberia continued, pointing to the deep-seated traumatic effects the war left in its wake.

Nicola Jones, a researcher at Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a London based think-tank, explains, “After the war, men are often aggressive, ‘hyper-masculine’ and struggle to adapt to peacetime.” Essentially, after over a decade of being stripped of the basic necessities for survival, men are often overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness, and raping women and girls is a means of reasserting their masculinity.

The statistics reflect this observation, with 1,002 rape cases reported in 2013 concerning children between the ages of 3 and 14. However, there were only 49 rape convictions, pointing to yet another problem.

Given the stigma around rape worldwide, much of the rape in Liberia goes unpunished when women don’t come forward or the justice system neglects to arrest the accused rapists. The U.S. takes some of the blame for this stigma, often making rape a societal taboo, which as a result, makes women reluctant to come forward and report what happened to them.

Gbowee, an international speaker, activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, commented on America’s lack of action, explaining that “when American women are silent on issues of women’s rights, that attitude permeates the developing world.” When the U.S. sets an example of punishing rapists and accepting women who have been attacked, developing countries may follow suit and see a decline in cases in the near future.

There has been improvement, however, in the number of women and girls who go to the police with reports of rape. Annie Jones Demen, Liberia’s Gender Affairs minister, notes, “We now have more reports on sexual and gender-based violence. Survivors of sexual violence now feel safe to come out to say they were raped.” Since 2006, reports of rape in Liberia have become more common, and as acceptance has become more widespread, more women have seen justice served on their behalf.

The impoverished state of Liberia contributes to the lack of punishment for rapists, with a dearth of facilities to treat those who have been raped. Monrovia, in western Liberia, has the only hospital dedicated to treating rape victims, often receiving between 10 and 15 rape victims every month.

The end of a war brings hope for a brighter future, but in the case of Liberia, the rape problem has remained stronger than ever. Thousands of women every year are raped and left to recover on their own, contributing to a culture that displays complacency in response to the high numbers of rape. The U.S. can lend a hand on the road to justice, as can the media, and aid given to develop Liberia at a faster pace could put rape culture behind them.

Magdalen Wagner

Sources: Malay Mail, IRIN, Trust, Global Post
Photo: flickr

katra

Two 12 and 15-year-old girls were lynched last week in western Uttar Pradesh in India after being abducted, gang raped and hanged by their attackers. The Indian village, known as Katra in the Badaun district, is one of the world’s most impoverished areas.

Most of its citizens work as tillers or take up small, part-time jobs in order to make a living. With hardly any money, most cannot afford a functioning toilet, so they relieve themselves in nearby fields.

Yet this is exactly what would lead to the death of two young cousins after being abducted by three men in the fields of their village. Their attackers hanged the two girls on a tree in the village, which would be on display for the entire community.

Thought by medical experts to have been hanged alive, many are wondering how and why these gruesome attacks could have taken place in a day and age where feminism is, in most parts of the world, on the rise.

India has had a history of women’s rights problems for years. After the gang rape case of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi in 2012, in which four men were all found guilty and given the death penalty, India has been making a concerted effort to tighten their rules regarding violence against women.

Yet this has by no means actually prevented or improved cases of violence against women in the country; in most cases, police insensitivity has been proliferated by patriarchal attitudes of those in governmental power.

The Samajwadi Party is just one example of misogyny’s power in Indian politics. The senior Samajwadi Party leader, Ram Gopal Yadav, spoke of the most recent incident, stating, “[In] many places, when the relationship between girls and boys come out in the open, it is termed as rape.”

Two months ago, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that “boys will be boys” and vehemently opposed the death penalty as punishment for acts of rape.

The three men responsible for the two teenage girls’ deaths in Katra have been arrested, and two policemen are being held on suspicion for trying to cover up the crimes.

This is not an uncommon occurrence: while a rape is reported every 21 minutes in India, law enforcement failure often results in crimes not being reported or investigated fully. Yet as the case rises in power, world officials are continuing to speak out against these acts of misogyny.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who stated that he was “appalled” by these recent acts, is just one of many to have spoken out. “We say no to the dismissive, destructive attitude of ‘boys will be boys,’” he said. As the government continues to crack down on these acts, many hope its citizens will listen.

 — Nick Magnanti

Sources: The Diplomat, ODT, Scroll, Times of India 1, Times of India 2
Photo: The Story Exchange

human_trafficking
Generating an industry worth billions of dollars, human trafficking poses one of the greatest threats to human rights globally. The U.N. defines the act as “a process by which people are recruited in their community, and exploited by traffickers using deception and/or some other form of coercion to lure and control them.”

The problem stems from various elements, including migration floods, political instability, economic uncertainty, dysfunctional state institutions and a rapidly growing sex industry. The U.N. goes on to identify three different elements that must be present for an act to be considered human trafficking: recruitment and transporting, an act of deception or abuse of power and a form of exploitation to which the victim is subjected.

Here are five basic realities of human trafficking that give a snapshot of the current situation:

1. What we see is the tip of the iceberg.

Cases of human trafficking are extremely difficult to detect. Conviction rates from the crime are extremely low: even though 460 different trafficking flows have been identified worldwide, 16% of affected countries reported zero cases between 2007 and 2010.

2. Victims remain tantalizingly close to home.

Most traffickers do not transport their victims across the world. Instead, they tend to keep victims within the region they were taken from. Globally, the trafficking flow with East Asian origins exports the most victims out of the region.

3. Men are trafficked, too.

Human Trafficking is an act of those in power exploiting those who are vulnerable. Women and children, then, with smaller physical stature and less social empowerment, are at highest risk. But that does not mean they are the only victims: men account for a quarter of all human trafficking victims. A third of all trafficked children are boys.

4. It’s happening right now, even in the U.S.

More than 10,000 people are forced laborers in the U.S., and this does not account for all the cases that go unnoticed. Taking those into account, the figure is more likely in the tens of thousands. Most of these will end up in the sex industry, while others will be forced to work in agriculture, domestic settings, sweatshops and in hotels.

5. It’s everyone’s problem.

It is estimated that 20.9 million people work forced labor globally, and this number can be thought of as a good indicator for the number of trafficked people worldwide. Victims have been identified with 136 different nationalities in virtually every region of the world, and all countries play some part in the process, with 118 of them containing victims.

The news is not all bad, though. There are ways to combat these trends, like lessening discrimination, empowering women, keeping children healthy and clear of conflict zones and, as always, battling global poverty.

Currently, evidence shows that in some regions, human trafficking has been on the decline since 2000, and 134 countries have now made laws against it.

– Rachel Davis

Sources: UN(1), UN(2), UNODC, Human Rights Center
Photo: LB International