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  1. 1

    Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused. WHO clinical guidelines.

    World Health Organization [WHO]. Department of Reproductive Health and Research

    Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2017. 86 p.

    Sexual abuse of children and adolescents is a gross violation of their rights and a global public health problem. It adversely affects the health of children and adolescents. Health care providers are in a unique position to provide an empathetic response to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused. Such a response can go a long way in helping survivors recover from the trauma of sexual abuse. WHO has published new clinical guidelines Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused aimed at helping front-line health workers, primarily from low resource settings, in providing evidence-based, quality, trauma-informed care to survivors. The guidelines emphasize the importance of promoting safety, offering choices and respecting the wishes and autonomy of children and adolescents. They cover recommendations for post-rape care and mental health; and approaches to minimizing distress in the process of taking medical history, conducting examination and documenting findings.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Contemporary issues in women's health.

    Adanu RM; Hammoud MM

    International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2008 Sep; 102(3):223-225.

    The editors of Contemporary Issues in Women's Health solicited reporters and correspondents from throughout the world to make contributions to this feature. Items submitted were stories on breastfeeding, FGM, Saudi women and ban on female drivers, and useful sources for women's health information.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    Intimate partner violence's effects on women's health may be long-lasting.

    Ramashwar S

    International Family Planning Perspectives. 2008 Jun; 34(2):98.

    Physical and sexual intimate partner violence may have lasting effects on a woman's health, according to a recent multicountry study by the World Health Organization. Compared with women who had never been abused, those who had suffered intimate partner violence had 60% greater odds of being in poor or very poor health, and about twice the odds of having had various health problems, such as memory loss and difficulty walking, in the past four weeks. (excerpt)
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  4. 4

    Resolution 1820 (2008). Adopted by the Security Council at its 5916th meeting, on 19 June 2008.

    United Nations. Security Council

    [New York, New York], United Nations, Security Council, 2008 Jun 19. 5 p. (S/RES/1820 (2008))

    United Nations Security Council resolution on women, peace and security, demanding halt to acts of sexual violence during armed conflict.
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  5. 5

    Integration of the human rights of women and a gender perspective: Violence against women. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Erturk. Addendum. Mission to El Salvador (2-8 February 2004).

    Erturk Y

    [Geneva, Switzerland], United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2004 Dec 20. 29 p. (E/CN.4/2005/72/Add.2)

    This report contains my findings as the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following my visit to El Salvador on official mission, from 2 to 8 February 2004. It addresses the diverse forms of violence against women in the country and identifies key measures and initiatives needed to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of women and the elimination of violence against women. Although women's rights were not central to the civil war that ravaged El Salvador between 1980 and 1992 or to the peace negotiations thereafter, women's high level of participation in the opposition forces gave them experience and political consciousness that enabled them to challenge discriminatory practices in the society. As a result, in the post-conflict era notable progress related to gender equality, particularly at the legislative level, was achieved. Other encouraging developments include the establishment of the Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women (ISDEMU), a human rights programme within the National Civil Police (PNC) and other institutional initiatives designed to protect women against violence. Despite the achievements, the failure of authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for gender-based violence has contributed to an environment of impunity that has resulted in little confidence in the justice system. Impunity for crimes, the socio-economic disparities and the machista culture foster a generalized state of violence, subjecting women to a continuum of multiple violent acts, including murder, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and commercial sexual exploitation. (excerpt)
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  6. 6

    Integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective. Violence against women. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Erturk. Addendum. Communications to and from governments.

    Erturk Y

    [Geneva, Switzerland], United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2004 Mar 3. 51 p. (E/CN.4/2004/66/Add.1)

    The Special Rapporteur wishes to inform the Commission that during the period under review she transmitted communications to the Governments of: Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. In addition the Governments of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Uruguay provided the Special Rapporteur with replies on cases and reports submitted during the year under review, whereas the Governments of Australia, China, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka did so with respect to cases submitted in previous years. This report contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of general and individual allegations, as well as urgent appeals transmitted to Governments, and their replies thereto. Observations by the Special Rapporteur have also been included where applicable. The names of some of the victims whose cases are presented in this report have been replaced by initials, in order to respect their privacy and to prevent further revictimization. The full names of all victims have been provided to the Government concerned. (excerpt)
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  7. 7
    Peer Reviewed

    Gender and natural disaster: Sexualized violence and the tsunami.

    Felten-Biermann C

    Development. 2006 Sep; 49(3):82-86.

    Although a natural disaster does not differentiate between people, societal norms do. According to a study carried out by Oxfam International, the number of women who died in the tsunami of December 2004 considerably outnumbered men. In many places, the ratio between female and male deaths was 3:1.This difference can be directly attributed to gender roles. In many fishing villages, most of the men were not at home when the wave reached the coast. They were out with their boats and were not hit with the same brute force as the people who were staying on the coast. Or they were working in the fields and could escape climbing up trees. In contrast, women mostly stayed inside or around their houses and the first thing they did when the wave reached was to try to save the lives of children and old people. Life-saving skills such as swimming or climbing up a tree are not deemed seemly for girls. Traditional clothing such as the 'Kain Sarong' worn in Aceh limits the freedom of movement of women and girls. (excerpt)
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  8. 8

    Assisting children born of sexual exploitation and abuse.

    Rumble L; Mehta SB

    Forced Migration Review. 2007 Jan; (27):20-21.

    The problem of sexual exploitation and abuse is often exacerbated in situations characterised by poverty, conflict and/or displacement where the UN is actively involved. Poverty and a lack of economic opportunities frequently force women and children to engage in 'survival sex' - the exchange of money, goods or services for sexual favours. In 2002 a joint UNHCR/Save the Children UK report revealed a disturbing pattern of sexual exploitation of refugee children by aid workers and peacekeepers in West Africa. Documenting allegations against 40 agencies and 67 individuals, it reported how humanitarian workers extort sex in exchange for desperately needed aid. Acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were brought to the international public's attention in 2005. The UN continues to document cases involving children as young as 11 and anecdotal evidence indicates that hundreds of babies have been born of such acts. For unaccompanied (separated or abandoned), internally displaced and refugee children, vulnerabilities are compounded by increased risks of sexual abuse, prostitution, trafficking, military recruitment and psychosocial distress. A lack of documentation and birth registration in displaced and refugee settings leaves many unable to access healthcare, education and other services. (excerpt)
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  9. 9

    Re: Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children [letter]

    Defence for Children International; Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment Against Children; Human Rights Watch; International Federation of Social Workers; International Save the Children Alliance

    [Unpublished] 2006 Sep 21. 4 p.

    In just a few weeks, on October 11, the Secretary-General's independent expert, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, will present the findings of a comprehensive and ground-breaking global study of violence against children. As members of an international NGO advisory panel for the study, we take this opportunity to share our recommendations for action and our hope that your government will take leadership to address the devastating and pervasive violence documented by this report. In particular, we urge you to support the appointment of a Special Representative to the Secretary General on violence against children to ensure effective follow-up to the study, maintain high-level visibility to these crucial issues, and guarantee that the momentum created by the study is not lost. The Pinheiro study finds that shocking levels of violence affect the lives of children on all parts of the globe. Among the report's findings: Between 20 and 65 percent of school-age children report having been verbally or physically bullied in the past 30 days. Corporal punishment such as beating and caning is standard practice in schools in a large number of countries, and is often responsible for school drop-out; 126 million children are involved in hazardous work, often enduring beatings, humiliation and sexual violence by their employers; Institutionalized children--whether in orphanages or detention facilities--are at particular risk of violence from the staff responsible for their care, including torture, beatings, isolation, restraints, rape, and harassment. (excerpt)
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  10. 10

    Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence against Children in South Asia.

    Jabeen FS

    Kathmandu, Nepal, Save the Children Sweden, 2006. 37 p.

    This is a child and youth friendly book that briefly tells girls and boys about the discussions, concerns and recommendations that came up during the 'Consultation of South Asia Children and Young People for the UN Study on Violence against Children' followed by a 'Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence against Children in South Asia'. South Asia includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The consultations were held as part of a larger process of preparing a report for the United Nations Secretary General's Study on Violence against Children. It has given adults and children an opportunity to work together to understand the issue and to find ways of stopping violence against children. (excerpt)
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  11. 11

    Stop violence against women. Fight AIDS.

    Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS [UNAIDS]. Global Coalition on Women and AIDS

    Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, [2006]. [4] p. (What's Real. Issue No. 2)

    Violence against women is a global health crisis of epidemic proportions and often a cause and consequence of HIV. Violence and the threat of violence dramatically increase the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV by making it difficult or impossible for women to abstain from sex, to get their partners to be faithful, or to use a condom. Violence is also a barrier for women in accessing HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. That is why the UNAIDS-led Global Coalition on Women and AIDS has made stopping violence against women a top priority. (excerpt)
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  12. 12

    Suffering in silence: a study of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in Pabbo camp, Gulu district, northern Uganda.

    Akumu CO; Amony I; Otim G

    Gulu, Uganda, Gulu District Sub Working Group on SGBV, 2005 Jan. [35] p.

    The study looks at the nature, causes and effects as well as the current interventions related to SGBV in Pabbo IDP camp. The purpose of the study was to generate information to enable the Sub Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence to identify needs of the people in Pabbo camp and inform future interventions. The Gulu District Sub-Committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Group chaired by the District Community Service Department and co-chaired by UNICEF, commissioned the study. The research was conducted in Pabbo IDP camp between the 6th and 25th September 2004. (excerpt)
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  13. 13

    Compendium on child prostitution. Compiled by Socio Legal Information Centere.

    Reproductions. 1999 Apr; (2):[68] p..

    India has several Central and State enactment with regard to children. These legislations pertain to guardianship, adoption, maintenance, custody, child labour and other related issues. Despite these enactment, laws enacted to protect children and their rights are repeatedly violated. Politicians are by and large indifferent towards children, as children do not form part of the Vote Bank. Children should be seen as the subject of rights and not as commodities. Society till recently were silent watchers and the main abettors of crime against children. The situation is gradually changing due to international pressure and awareness generated amongst the public with regard to "child rights." It is essential that a child enjoys an environment conducive to healthy growth and development. An abused child is mal-adjusted for the rest of her life. Dr. (Ms.) Sarla Gotala who headed the Indian delegation to the Stockholm World Congress against the commercial sexual exploitation of children held in 1996 has rightly stated: "We must help create an environment for the child particularly the rightly stated: We must help create and environment for the child particularly the girl child, to grow free without fetters." (excerpt)
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  14. 14
    Peer Reviewed

    The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- and how to make it work.

    Hammarberg T

    Human Rights Quarterly. 1990 Feb; 12(1):97-105.

    When famine spreads, children die first. Diarrhoea is the worst killer in spite of available knowledge and means to control it. In poorer nations, some twelve million children die every year because they do not have vaccines or sufficient food. They are deprived of the most fundamental of all human rights-- the right to live. "It is our children who pay the heaviest price for our shortsighted economic policies, our political blunders, our wars." So said Eglantyne Jebb, the British pioneer for children's rights some seventy years ago when starting her campaign for better protection of the world's children. Her voice was heard. She was arrested for obscenity when she displayed pictures of starving children damaged by the war in other parts of Europe. But people rallied to her support and the Save the Children movement was formed. This new international movement drafted the Declaration of Geneva, adopted by the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1924. The first step had been taken towards international norms for the protection of children. The Declaration contained five principles which were general but to the point. One was that children should be the first to receive relief in emergencies. From then on, "children first" became a fundamental point in the struggle for the rights of the child. (excerpt)
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  15. 15

    Children on the edge. Protecting children from sexual exploitation and trafficking in East Asia and the Pacific.

    UNICEF. East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office

    Bangkok, Thailand, UNICEF, East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, [2002]. 36 p.

    From the go-go bars and massage parlours of Bangkok’s infamous Patpong district to the shadowy brothels of Phnom Penh’s red light district of Tuol Kork to the darkened alleys of the Philippines’ capital, children and those barely adult offer their bodies to meet the insatiable appetite of the sex industry. While other children are sleeping, playing, going to school and enjoying the innocence of childhood, child sex workers in East Asia and the Pacific are struggling to cope with the grown-up consequences of their exploitation – AIDS, malnutrition, psychological trauma and sexually transmitted disease. And all the while, their abuse is denied for shame or fear of retribution, covered up and disguised, so even now the world has no true way of knowing how widespread is their exploitation. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) believes that one million children – mainly girls but also a significant number of boys – enter the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade globally every year. In East Asia, the sex trade is such a huge money spinner that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates the sex industry and related services to be worth up to 14 per cent of Thailand’s gross domestic product. (excerpt)
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  16. 16

    Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, in Africa.

    UNICEF. Innocenti Research Centre

    Florence, Italy, UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2003 Sep. viii, 72 p. (Innocenti Insight)

    This report is the result of a research initiative promoted by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre and supported by the Governments of Italy and Sweden. It is anchored in the commitment by Heads of State at the EU-Africa Summit in Cairo, held in April 2000, to identify democracy, human rights and good governance as being among an agreed set of eight priority areas for political action. During the first Africa-Europe Ministerial Conference, held in Brussels in October 2001, the issue of trafficking in women and children was further identified as one of the most worrying phenomena in Africa and government representatives expressed their “desire to press ahead with the preparation of an action plan to combat trafficking in human beings, particularly women and children”. The Action Plan is expected to focus on the strengthening of legal frameworks, prevention and combating of trafficking in human beings, protection and support of victims, and collaboration among regions and states. The draft has been discussed at several important meetings with a view to its adoption at the next EU-Africa Summit. The present report is further guided by important political commitments undertaken at the UN Special Session on Children and at the 2nd World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Yokohama in 2001. The research has been developed against background of an absence of reliable estimates regarding the actual levels of trafficking in Africa or, indeed, globally. With regard to Africa there is not a generally accepted perception of the possible levels of trafficking. The research has also had to take account of the dearth of trafficking research and methodology. Research challenges such as these have, however, provided an opportunity to develop and test innovative methods for the gathering and assessment of data. (excerpt)
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  17. 17

    [Adolescents' rights] Derechos de las y los adolescentes.

    Fuera del Closet. 1996 Sep; (10):4-5.

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (a human being under the age of 18) declared the right of children to health and protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This was reiterated by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. The Declaration of the Conference on Human Rights urged the governments to step up their efforts to protect and promote the human rights of women and children. It called for the elimination of gender-based violence and all forms of sexual harassment and exploitation. (excerpt)
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  18. 18

    Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2003. [152] p.

    Sexual violence is ubiquitous; it occurs in every culture, in all levels of society and in every country of the world. Data from country and local studies indicate that, in some parts of the world at least, one woman in every five has suffered an attempted or completed rape by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Furthermore, up to one-third of women describe their first sexual experience as being forced. Although the vast majority of victims are women, men and children of both sexes also experience sexual violence. Sexual violence can thus be regarded as a global problem, not only in the geographical sense but also in terms of age and sex. Sexual violence takes place within a variety of settings, including the home, the workplace, schools and the community. In many cases, it begins in childhood or adolescence. High rates of forced sexual initiation have been reported in population-based studies conducted in such diverse locations as Cameroon, the Caribbean, Peru, New Zealand, South Africa and Tanzania. According to these studies, between 9% and 37% of adolescent females, and between 7% and 30% of adolescent males, have reported sexual coercion at the hands of family members, teachers, boyfriends or strangers. Sexual violence has a significant negative impact on the health of the population. The potential reproductive and sexual health consequences are numerous – unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/ AIDS) and increased risk for adoption of adoption of risky sexual behaviours (e.g. early and increased sexual involvement, and exposure to older and multiple partners). The mental health consequences of sexual violence can be just as serious and long lasting. Victims of child sexual abuse, for example, are more likely to experience depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide in later life than their non-abused counterparts. Worldwide child sexual abuse is a major cause of PTSD, accounting for an estimated 33% of cases in females and 21% of cases in males. (excerpt)
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  19. 19


    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]

    In: Thematic compilation of General Assembly and Economic and Social Council resolutions, [compiled by] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]. Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR, 2003 Feb 1. 515-538.

    The provisions reproduced below call upon States to ensure access for refugee and displaced women to emergency relief, health programmes, counselling services, and material assistance. GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS: Calls upon all States and donors providing immediate relief to refugees and displaced persons to endeavour to lessen the special vulnerability of women in these circumstances, by ensuring their access to emergency relief and to health programmes, and. their active participation in decision making in centres or camps for refugees or displaced persons; Further calls upon all States and donors assisting in the rehabilitation, resettlement or repatriation of refugees and displaced persons to recognize the pivotal role of the mother in the family, and thus in the provision of family welfare, to ensure women's rights to physical safety and to facilitate their access to counselling services and material assistance. (excerpt)
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  20. 20

    Violence against women: a multi-dimensional phenomenon.

    Innovations: Innovative Approaches to Population Programme Management. 2001; 9:1-18.

    The phenomenon of violence against women (VAW) and even girls has permeated all layers of society for centuries, and, sadly, it still echoes true in the current century. The most commonly used definition from Article 1 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, describes violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” Both males and females experience violence in one form or another, but females constitute a higher percentage of victims of violence through the lifespan, from pre-birth up to old age. They are denied the chance to be born, to survive after birth and to live a healthy life free from the various kinds of violence. (excerpt)
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  21. 21

    Misuse of the internet for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 1998 May 1; [3] p..

    Acknowledging that the Internet can be a valuable medium of communication, and noting that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies the right of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, and that all recommendations must be implemented to protect this right. Recognizing that the Internet is the most unregulated communications network in the world with new technologies that present difficult challenges to national and international regulation and enforcement. Alarmed that multiple forms of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, sex tours, bride trafficking, pornography, live sex shows, and rape videos for sexual entertainment are promoted; that the Internet is now the preferred site for mail order bride promotions; and that the Internet offers multiple forums in which the trafficking, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation of women and children are promoted and carried out. (excerpt)
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  22. 22

    Guide to the new UN trafficking protocol.

    Raymond JG

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 2003 Apr 24; [2] p..

    The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children is a wide-ranging international agreement to address the crime of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, on a transnational level. It creates a global language and legislation to define trafficking in persons, especially women and children; assist victims of trafficking; and prevent trafficking in persons. The trafficking in persons protocol also establishes the parameters of judicial cooperation and exchanges of information among countries. Although the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children anticipates accomplishing what national legislation cannot do on its own, it is also intended to jump-start national laws and to harmonize regional legislation against the trafficking in women and children. (excerpt)
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  23. 23

    Presentation to UN Special Seminar on Trafficking, Prostitution and the Global Sex Industry - Postion paper for CATW: Part Two.

    Leidholdt D

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 1999 Jun 2; [5] p..

    The notion that prostitution is work--"sex work" is the dangerously misleading term--ignores both these powerful social forces of poverty, violence, and inequality that propel women and children into sexual exploitation and the harm that women and children sustain as a direct consequence of sexual exploitation. For some, the "sex work" model is a misguided attempted to bestow dignity on a stigmatized and marginalized population; what in fact it does, however, is to confer legitimacy on the systems of sexual exploitation that devastate the lives of prostituted women and children. It is not an accident that the organized commercial sex industry is one of the biggest promoters of the notion that prostitution is "sex work"--"a job like any other job." The notion that commercial sexual exploitation is viable work has been embraced by some governments, with catastrophic implications for poor women and girls. For example, one government in Central America proudly asserted in a report to an United Nations conference following the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing: "Recognized prostitution in [our country] is a gender-specific form of migrant labor that serves the same economic function for women as agriculture work offers to men and often for better pay." It should be noted that this country is a sex tourism center, with the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Central America. (excerpt)
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  24. 24

    Prostitution: a contempory form of slavery - CATW presentation to the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.

    Leidholdt D

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 1998 May 1; [7] p..

    The Coalition is an international non-governmental organization with regional headquarters and networks in Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. The Coalition works against all practices of sexual violence and exploitation, including but not limited to rape, incest, intimate violence, prostitution, sex trafficking, sex tourism, mail order bride markets, sexual harassment, pornography, involuntary sterilization and childbearing, female genital mutilation, and temporary marriage or marriage of convenience for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The focus of our work is on sexual exploitation, which we define as the sexual violation of a person's human dignity, equality, and physical or mental integrity and as a practice by which some people (primarily men) achieve power and domination over others (primarily women and children) for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, and/or advancement. The Coalition recognizes that, in order to carry out their practices and achieve their goals, sexual exploiters are facilitated by and make use of long standing social hierarchies, especially the domination of men over women, of adults over children, of rich over poor, of racial and ethnic majorities over racial and ethnic minorities, and of and so called "First World "over so-called "Third World" countries. (excerpt)
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  25. 25

    Presentation to UN Special Seminar on Trafficking, Prostitution and the Global Sex Industry - Postion paper for CATW: Part Three.

    Leidholdt D

    Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 1998 Jun 1; [4] p..

    To start, we must recognize that trafficking, prostitution, and other practices of sexual exploitation are interrelated practices of gender-, race-, and socioeconomic-based domination that reinforce gender-, race- and socioeconomic-based hierarchies. We must recognize that everyone has a fundamental right to be free from sexual exploitation. At the same time, we must repudiate all attempts to legitimize prostitution as "work." We must strengthen and enforce the two international human rights instruments that address this human rights crisis: the 1949 Convention on the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The 1949 Convention establishes vitally important human rights norms and remains a potential wedge against pimps, procurers, and traffickers. But it is under attack. Some would like to see the 1949 Convention supplanted by a convention that addresses only forced trafficking. These critics of the 1949 Convention are correct when they point out that it has no enforcement mechanisms and has been ratified by relatively few countries. But their motivation is not to strengthen the attack against the sex industry but to limit it so that organized commercial sexual exploitation is off limits unless there is proof of deception and force. (excerpt)
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