US Contractors in Afghanistan Accused of Sex Trafficking
Contractors hired to guard the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan have been accused of sex trafficking. One guard was heard "boasting" about the profit he could turn if he was able to "purchase a girl for $20,000." The same guard claimed to join the force because he "knew someone who owned prostitutes there," according to NPR. These allegations comes after evidence that contracted guards engaged in inappropriate hazing behavior came to light last week.
James Gordon, a former manager for the contracting firm AmorGroup, said this week that guards "routinely frequented brothels" and at one point an employee had to be "forcibly removed" from a brothel. He told CNN that a "United States law known as the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act, prohibits contractors from procuring commercial sex while working on the contract...Many of the prostitutes in Kabul are young Chinese girls who were taken against their will to Kabul for sexual exploitation." Gordon filed a lawsuit in a US District Court yesterday that claims he was illegally forced to leave his job with ArmorGroup after he asked both the US State Department and his employer to investigate contractors' potentially illegal activities in Kabul almost two years ago.
State Department spokesperson P. J. Crowley has declined comment on the new claims of sexual trafficking and involvement in commercial sex, but the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released pictures early last week that support earlier allegations of contracted embassy guards participating in sexual hazing and intimidation.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .