Category Archives: Legislation

Europe needs to do more to prevent human trafficking

This snippet highlights another consequence of the migration of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

According to the article, human traffickers are taking advantage of refugees’ vulnerable state, often smuggling them via “unseaworthy vessels.”

UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, is urging Europe to help trafficked victims through not allowing immigration policies to negatively affect anti-human trafficking laws as this could lead to an increase in human trafficking and exploitation.

Hmong child bride lawsuit in Minnesota

This article is about child brides ie human trafficking of child brides from Laos. In this case, a woman has chosen to speak out and is suing her perpetrator/abuser.

There is apparently a population of Hmong people in St. Paul Minnesota and it is a common occurrence where young girls in Laos are lured with the promise of something like being in a music video or meeting a movie star as was the case with this woman. The community does not openly speak against it because it could mean some sort of physical retaliation.

This woman was taken at the age of 14 (she is now 22) under the promise of an audition to be in a music video. Instead, a relative of the man who initially made the promise to the young girl (and her parents) showed up and raped her. He eventually allowed her to return home, but upon learning she was pregnant, forced her to marry him. Upon bringing her to the US, he kept her passport and immigration documents as well as threatened her with taking their child away if she tried to leave. Eventually, she was able to get a protective order against him and their “cultural” marriage ended.

And now she is suing him “for $450,000, the minimum statutory damages under “Masha’s Law,” a federal law that provides for a civil remedy in the form of monetary compensation in child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking and other similar cases.”



Federal Plan for addressing sex trafficking in the US

The title of the report is: Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.

Although it is somewhat lengthy to read, it is worth at least skimming through. Most of our class readings and discussions focus on events in other countries. I believe it is important to keep up on what is going on in the US as well.

This Action Plan, developed by our current administration, delineates strategies and expectations for addressing sex trafficking. It was developed by several governmental agencies and focuses on specific goals to be accomplished over a 5-year period, although the hope is the Plan will be a foundation for long-term goals as well.


does Stand Your Ground protect battered women?

Can Women Stand Their Ground? Depends On the Target.

Marissa Alexander was a battered woman who was trained to use a weapon, had a concealed carry permit, and had a court injunction against her husband. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at the ceiling – a shot that may have saved her life – and now may face 60 years in prison if prosecutor Angela Corey has her way. George Zimmerman killed a man and went free so why was Marissa Alexander also not allowed to stand her ground?

If SYG doesn’t adequately protect women experiencing intimate partner violence (like many supporters of the law suggest), what can we do to protect them?

– Lindsay

It’s A Girl – Gendercide in India and China

The film, It’s A Girl (available now on Netflix watch instantly), casts a light on the way girls in India and China are discriminated against because of their sex. According to the film’s website, the UN estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing because of female infanticide. The film also explores dowry and domestic violence, sex trafficking, issues of reproductive health and control, female suicide, and forced abortions. The film presents some interesting statistics about men and women, including the estimate that there are 37 million more men than women in China today.

Before posting, I wanted to look up some of the statistics. I found an interesting and thought provoking article that looks at the funding and perspective of the film (you can read the Slate article here). The writer found that the film was actually funded and produced by pro-life ministries, yet is being shown and recommended by many pro-choice groups. The article also accuses the film of looking at the people of China and India as being savages, the girls as being victims, and Americans as the saviors.

This critical perspective is a useful lens for viewing the film. The director interviewed social worker, activists, and mothers to get a picture of the cultural issues that allow such discrimination against women to continue. The stories are powerful and the issues compelling. The film ends by stressing the importance of the changes that must be made both within the minds of the individuals and the culture as a whole in order to end the violence. Still, the film fails to give a tangible solution for how this should happen.

Have you seen the film? What do you think? Pro-choice or pro-life? Does it matter? Is it another product of the “white-savior complex?” What could be done to change cultural ideas that devalue girls, causing violence and discrimination?

– Lindsay Cortright

Egypt’s Brotherhood Blasts UN Women’s Document

Sarah El Deeb’s article discusses the opposition that a UN Women’s document has received from the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt. The group has opposed this document because of clauses within it that they consider incompatible with the tenants of Islam. Actual details of the document have yet to be released pending negotiations. Officials are remaining optimistic that the document will pas, but there is speculation that Egypt will seek the choice to opt out of sections of the document before passing it. Libya has also publicly rejected the document. Egypt has called for an amendment to the document before they would approve it. Issues lie in the differences in interpretations of ideologies of Islamic law. The rise in Fundamentalist groups as a result of protests and political upheavals in the region has led to more traditional interpretations as well as an increase in violence against women. Women activists have responded on both sides, some agreeing with the document and others with those who have challenged it. Issues between differences in interpretations have created contention amongst Politicians and activist who have called for stronger protection and enforcement of rights for women. Shannon


Violence Against Women Act 2013

The senate today passed the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. All of the women senators voted in favor, as did all of the democrats and not surprisingly those who were opposed were republican men. Some very important changes were that Native American women, GLBT women, and immigrant women were all included. I am glad the Senate finally got it together to renew and expand the act. Women across the United States are grateful.

India Rape Ordinance Blasted by Female Activists




Based on the deadly gang rape the president added an anti-rape ordinance into law. Protesters are furious because they say it was crafted without any input and falls short of bringing perpetrators to justice. The outcry is also due to the perceived dismissal of the recommendations made by the Verma committee’s report. The finance minister did say that the ordinance would speed up the trial of those accused in the gang rape. One positive move was when the Supreme Court is considering a measure to lower the age of adult from 18-16, therefore, those that are found guilty of sexual assaults will face time in prison.

Kansas bill heats debate over rights of Mothers to be

What happens if the ultrasound technician see something wrong and decides NOT to tell you: 

As someone who has felt that nervous glide of the ultrasound many times–wondering if all was OK, I understand the ramifications of this bill.

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