The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released its 2006 State of the World Population report yesterday in a morning briefing in Washington, DC, emphasizing the importance of women's issues and international migration. According to the report, women migrants typically leave their native countries to escape the oppression they face and to gain freedom in a new country. However, while half of all migrants are women, they often face double discrimination because of their gender and their foreign-born status. Approximately one-third of households headed by foreign-born women are at or below the poverty line. Often the sole or primary providers, women also tend to contribute the majority of the $232 billion that migrants send back to their families in their home countries every year, said Maria Jose Alcala, principal author of the report.
The panel of speakers releasing the report also focused on trafficking, to which migrant women are often susceptible. Luring migrants to a new country through false promises of legitimate jobs and protection, traffickers expose victims to violence and unsafe conditions, according to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Women are disproportionately targeted: of the 2.5 million people who are trafficked each year, 80 percent are women, and of these women, 11 percent are forced into sex trafficking, which involves being forced to have sex while enduring violence, rape, and threats of being sent back to their home countries.
The panel’s promotion of more gender specific laws include the “Pimp Tax” law, a current project of Maloney’s. Because federal, state, and local mechanisms to prosecute sex traffickers are weak and difficult to enforce, Maloney proposes that the law investigate and arrest traffickers on tax evasion. Because “pimps” do not pay taxes on the money they make off of trafficked women, Maloney’s law would enable the IRS to become involved. In 2005, Maloney also helped pass the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act which better equips US law enforcement officials to study trafficking and enforce laws against traffickers.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation; Office of Carolyn Maloney
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .