Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016

“Trafficking for sexual exploitation and for forced labor remain the most prominently detected forms, but victims are also being trafficked to be used as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, benefit fraud, or production of pornography,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov in presenting the report.

2016 Global Report TIP2016  report includes a thematic chapter focusing on the connections between trafficking in persons, migration, and conflict.

Armed groups and criminal organizations often engage in trafficking in their territories of operation, coercing women and girls into marriages or sexual slavery, and pressing men and boys to act as forced labor or combatants.

Equality for Women is progress for all

It is well known that entrepreneurship accelerates economic development, and economic development brings healthier societies, better education models, and peace. Unfortunately, social barriers, discrimination practices, and economic abuse hinder women’s ability to perform under the same circumstances than male entrepreneurs, restraining survival skills, taking away income-earning options; diminishing their role in the economy and social change.

What happens when the elders make girls and young women feel unsafe if they leave the house, go to school or try to find a job? When patriarchal protagonists constantly blame female “liberal conduct and female exposure” for sexual harassment at school or work?

The consequence of such social behavior is that women see themselves not suited for participating in economic activities, they feel undervalued and unsafe, afraid of becoming the next victim; restricting their possibility to contribute to the household economy and community development.

Economic inequality opens the possibility for women to become victims of domestic violence, exploitation, and trafficking;[1] because it establishes an imbalanced relation between spouses and family members (domestic violence is not solely related to spouses it is also among parents/children, siblings, elders etc.); and generates “patterns of coercive control”[2] against women, better known as economic abuse, a non-physical manifestation of domestic violence.

Equality is the cornerstone of progress, studies show that there is a link between economic empowerment and violence against women (VAW), noticing that the more consolidated economic independence is among women the lesser risk of VAW exists. What is more, when household decisions and economic independence is shared equality the risk of VAW is almost non-existent[3] supporting the thesis that gender equality deters violence against women.

Did you know?

  • Women continue to earn less pay for work of equal value.
  • Approximately 128 countries have laws that prevent women from participating fully in society.
  • Around 800 women die every day due to childbirth and pregnancy related situations.
  • 1 in 3 girls and women are victims of violence every day.
  • Over the next decade, 100 million girls will become child brides.

The fact is that when women and girls live their lives in an equal, peaceful, violence-free environment, they build better skills to actively participate in the economy and contribute to local development and progress.

That is why “Equality for Women is Progress for All”.

Want to know more?

“Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the MDG for Women and Girls” -UN Secretary General’s Commission on the Status of Women- 12/2013.


[1] Press Release WOM/1390 05/03/2003

[2] UK Study on DV costs.

[3] GSDRC helpdesk research report: VAW and political empowerment 2011 htto://

Child marriage in Iraq: The Jaafari law

In a pathetic and shameful electoral maneuver, Iraqi parliament is most likely to pass a new rule that could allow children under nine years old to be legally married and the girls-wives forced to comply with marital demands; a disgusting trickery of the governing coalition to gain the support of Shia Muslims in the next election (April 30th).

As reported in the British newspaper The Telegraph “The legislation has been approved by the governing coalition in an effort to attract support from Shia Muslims in the April 30 vote”.

Nowadays Iraqi law sets the legal age for marriage at 18 years old, and for girls living in rural states as young as 15 but only with a guardian’s approval. Supporters of the Jaafari Personal Status law –named after a Shiite Muslim school of jurisprudence- gutsy stated, “It simply regulates practices already existing in day-to-day life”.

What can be done? How can it be stopped? Human Rights Watch has already issued a plea for the Iraqi government to stop the legislation, highlighting the violations that the soon to be law presents to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and The Convention on Rights of the Child, ratified by Iraq in 1986 and 1994 respectively. But is it enough?

Activists have campaigned in care2 petition site, to share the alert and to sign petitions in an attempt to stop this law, if interested click here to go to the site and support the petition started by Walk Free a no for profit focused on ending modern slavery.

( But my question remains… is it enough? Is it on time?

I know that inaction and apathy are worse than the indomitable effort of human rights activists fighting to defend and preserve our humanity against all odds, and at any cost… Let us do our share and support as many non-for-profits as possible to prevent child marriage and violence against women.

For all those interested on the topic, The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) has a broad collection of documents available for download to understand more about child marriage and what can be done to prevent and eliminate such practice.

Child Marriage