Thomson Reuters Foundation

tw most of this article is white non-swers speaking over swers of colour.

Sex workers’ groups in India say not all women in the trade are victims or trafficked sex slaves
By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI, Jan 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sex workers in India have slammed a global conference on the abolition of prostitution, saying campaigners for the end of the sex trade failed to recognise some women were prostitutes out of choice and not due to coercion, trafficking or force.

Participants at the Delhi conference - including former sex workers from South Africa, Canada, India and the United States - have been sharing stories of sexual slavery and calling for an end to prostitution by punishing clients, pimps and traffickers.

But sex workers’ groups in India said there was a difference between voluntary sex work and sexual exploitation, and that not all women in the trade are victims or trafficked sex slaves.

“We are against anyone who does not recognise us as human beings who can take our own decisions,” said Kiran Deshmukh, a sex worker from Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad, a collective of sex workers from India’s western state of Maharashtra.

“Making us victims with no agency is a violation of our human right to work in sex work. By ‘abolishing’ us they are not helping us - they are ignoring our need to work and earn a living with dignity.”

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Hundreds of nuns trained in Kung Fu are biking the Himalayas to oppose human trafficking
This is the fourth such journey they have made to spread messages of gender equality, peaceful co-existence and respect for the environment.
By Nita Bhalla, Reuters

“When we were doing relief work in Nepal after the earthquakes last year, we heard how girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore,” 22-year-old nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it’s okay to sell them,” she said, adding that the bicycle trek shows “women have power and strength like men.”

More here.

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Albino Children in Tanzania Targeted by Body Part Hunters

Children born with albinism in Tanzania live in constant danger of being attacked by people looking to profit from superstitious beliefs. About one in 20,000 people is born with albinism, lacking pigment in their hair, skin, and eyes. In Tanzania, according to reporting from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, albino body parts are highly valued in witchcraft and can fetch a high price: “Superstition leads many to believe albino children are ghosts who bring bad luck. Some believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation, according to a 2013 United Nations report.” Reuters also notes, “The United Nations estimates about 75 albinos have been killed in the east African nation since 2000 and have voiced fears of rising attacks ahead of this year’s election, as politicians seek good luck charms from witch doctors.“ Reuters photographer Carlo Allegri recently documented the lives of several Tanzanian children receiving care in New York after being brutalized in their home country.

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Fadumo Dayib is risking everything to become Somalia’s first female president.

Fadumo Dayib wants to be Somalia’s first female president — and the stakes are high.

The African country has not only seen decades of civil war, violence and political instability, but was also considered one of the top five most dangerous countries in the world for women.

Somalia’s former women’s minister, Maryan Qasim, agreed. If “asked where is the most dangerous place to be a woman I would have said with certainty Somalia,” Qasim told Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2011. “The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant.”

Dayib, 43, wants to change all of that — and has the experience to do it.

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Reports of crimes against women in India increased by 26.7 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year. Now India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh wants to set up special police units across the country to properly investigate and ensure speedy justice for survivors. A third of the officers will be women to help instill confidence and encourage more women to come forward.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation

Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi has dedicated her life to educating children in Pakistan despite the challenges and minimal resources. She guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education and has been honored with the 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

“When you have mothers who are educated, you will almost certainly have future generations who are educated,” she said.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation: http://tmsnrt.rs/1Ko3OmQ