Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


Day Conference on Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice Panel Discussion with Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space; Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters; Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Nasreen Rehman, Co-Founder of British Muslims for Secular Democracy and Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner. Panel Chair: Women’s Rights Activist Gina Khan. MC: Rayhana Sultan.

[printable page]

Direct Link to Full 422-Page 2016 US State Department Report:


The global anti-trafficking movement, now well into its second decade, has successfully used the 3P paradigm of prosecution, protection, and prevention to strengthen how the world combats trafficking in persons. Governments committed to enhancing prosecution of traffickers have enacted laws that criminalize all forms of human trafficking and prescribe suff iciently stringent sentences. Protection efforts have empowered individuals to move beyond their victimization and rebuild their lives with dignity, security, and respect. Prevention measures have provided communities around the world with valuable information about the risks of human trafficking, elevating public consciousness about this crime. Yet so much work remains……..

Date: 06/30/2016 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2016. - State Dept Image"If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, it is the conviction that there is nothing inevitable about trafficking in human beings. That conviction is where the process of change really begins—with the realization that just because a certain abuse has taken place in the past doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate that abuse in the future or that we can afford to avert our eyes. Instead, we should be asking ourselves—what if that victim of trafficking was my daughter, son, sister, or brother?

"This year’s TIP Report asks such questions, because ending modern slavery isn’t just a fight we should attempt—it is a fight we can and must win.

"The TIP Report is the product of a yearlong effort requiring contributions and follow-up from employees in the United States and at our diplomatic outposts across the globe, host country governments, and civil society." – John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

The Report

The 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report is available in PDF and HTML formats. The PDF is available as a complete one-piece file and as individual sections for easier download. To view the PDF files, you will need to download, at no cost, the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

PDF Format

-Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 -- Complete Report (PDF)
-Introductory Material (PDF)
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)

[printable page]

En México las mujeres son habitualmente objeto de abusos sexuales por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad para obtener confesiones forzadas en el contexto de la guerra contra el crimen organizado. Así lo revela una investigación sin precedentes de Amnistía Internacional que se hace pública hoy.

En abril de 2016 se filtró a la prensa un vídeo que mostraba a policías y militares asfixiando a una mujer con una bolsa de plástico e interrogándola mientras gritaba. El vídeo escandalizó a la sociedad mexicana y puso en alerta a las defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos de todo el mundo. El escándalo público, sin precedentes, provocó una disculpa del Secretario de Defensa y el Comisionado Nacional de Seguridad. Pero la tortura y otros malos tratos se han convertido en prácticas generalizadas en México, por lo que una simple disculpa no es suficiente. El Estado mexicano debe cumplir con su obligación de abordar la crisis de derechos humanos a la que se enfrenta.

Bajo el título de “Sobrevivir a la muerte. Tortura de mujeres por policías y fuerzas armadas en México”, Amnistía Internacional documenta el caso de 100 mujeres mexicanas que han sido víctimas de tortura sexual y malos tratos por parte de la policía y las fuerzas armadas del país. Semiasfixia con bolsas de plástico, descargas eléctricas, golpes en la cabeza, el estómago y otras partes del cuerpo -nunca en la cara, estrategia habitual para no dejar marcas o rastros visibles-. Estas son las principales formas de maltrato, pero la violencia ejercida contra las mujeres tiene siempre una naturaleza altamente sexual, que va desde los abusos psicológicos -insultos centrados en el sexo, la orientación sexual y la identidad de género, además de amenazas de violación contra ellas o sus familiares- hasta el acoso sexual propiamente dicho.


[printable page]

Image result for amnesty international logoTorture is widespread in Mexico’s “war on drugs”, but the impact on women has been largely ignored or downplayed. This report analyses the stories of 100 women who have reported torture and other forms of violence during arrest and interrogation by police and armed forces. Severe beatings; threats of rape against women and their families; near-asphyxiation, electric shocks to the genitals; groping of breasts and pinching of nipples; rape with objects, fingers, firearms and the penis – these are just some of the forms of violence inflicted on women, in many cases with the intention of getting them to “confess” to serious crimes.


[printable page]

The data visualization project, released by the Black Lives Matter initiative Campaign Zero, reveals several stipulations written into contracts or state law that activists claim hinder investigations into police misconduct.

WASHINGTON — A majority of U.S. cities with police union contracts and nearly every state with a version of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights have at least one major barrier to holding police accountable for misconduct, a new report claims.

The data visualization project, released by the Black Lives Matter initiative Campaign Zero, looks at jurisdictions that dismiss police complaints, restrict or delay the interrogation of an officer, give officers compromising access to information, limit oversight or discipline, and either pay for, or erase records of, police misconduct.

Campaign Zero is made up of activists Samuel Sinyangwe, Brittany Packnett, Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson. The review, which includes a state-by-state breakdown of each state’s restrictive measures, is part of a broader movement to increase transparency in police departments around the country in an effort to reduce police violence.

“In terms of results, I hope this information empowers communities to effectively push city leaders to remove these types of barriers to accountability in their contracts, as we are seeing happen with newfound pressure to renegotiate contract provisions in Chicago and Seattle, for example,” Campaign Zero’s Samuel Singyangwe said in an email statement to BuzzFeed News.

The report reveals several stipulations written into contracts or state law that Campaign Zero claims hinder investigations into police misconduct. In Florida, for instance, there is a180-day statute of limitations on investigations or “disciplinary action, suspension, demotion, or dismissal may not be undertaken by an agency against a law enforcement officer or correctional officer for any act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct” according to the state’s policy language.

Other findings in the report include:



[printable page]

“They were all telling me to go away.” Anano, 6, is a child actor. But the situation she’s in is very real. Every day, millions of children living in poverty are ignored, pushed aside and deprived of everything they need to thrive.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Our 2016 State of the World’s Children Report is a call to action for the world to treat its least fortunate children the way it treats its luckier children: http://uni.cf/sowc16 #foreverychild #FightUnfair

Subscribe to UNICEF here: http://bit.ly/1ltTE3m

The official UNICEF YouTube channel is your primary destination for the latest news updates from the frontline, documentaries, celebrity appeals, and more about our work to realize the rights of every child.

Click here to see all of our latest trending videos: http://smarturl.it/TrendingAtUNICEF

For more about UNICEF's work, visit: http://www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF here:
UNICEF Connect blog: http://blogs.unicef.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unicef
Twitter: https://twitter.com/unicef
Instagram: http://instagram.com/UNICEF
Tumblr: http://unicef.tumblr.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/unicef
Medium: https://medium.com/@UNICEF


[printable page]

La infancia también es víctima de la violencia de género. En los últimos 16 años, 92 personas menores han sido asesinadas por parejas o ex parejas de sus madres. El régimen de visitas es, en estas ocasiones, otra forma más de violencia contra las mujeres. Los y las menores pueden ser utilizadas como un medio para chantajes, reproches y violencia indirecta.

En 2013, España se sumó a una Estrategia Nacional para la Erradicación de la Violencia contra la Mujer. Desde este plan, se considera que una de las características de las víctimas es la invisibilización y la dificultad a la hora de hablar de cantidades. Y es que los números de menores asesinados solo pueden encontrarse en asociaciones privadas, como la de la Federación de Asociaciones de Mujeres Separadas y Divorciadas, que lleva una estadística propia desde hace 17 años.

La Ley de Violencia de Género está incompleta, especialmente en el caso de menores. Numerosos colectivos feministas exigen que el régimen de visitas se rompa siempre que haya un maltratador de por medio. Y es que a día de hoy, esta decisión depende de un juez. “Una denuncia por malos tratos no tiene ninguna repercusión de cara al régimen de visitas”, informa a AmecoPress Ángeles Álvarez, política socialista y activista feminista.

El juez –según la ley- “podrá ordenar la suspensión de visitas del inculpado por violencia de género a sus descendientes”. Y ese “podrá” es demasiado subjetivo. “Frente a este hecho, no puede establecerse que ‘podrán’ suspenderse las visitas, deberían estar privados de este derecho por la propia realidad del delito”. Es la opinión de Alicia García, graduada en derecho por la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid e interesada en temas de infancia.

“Los jueces no consideran esos temas en la práctica, a pesar de todas las estadísticas… Ya no solo una denuncia, ni siquiera una condena firme tiene efectos en el régimen de visitas”, advierte Ángeles. Las estadísticas de la ya mencionada Federación de Asociaciones de Mujeres Separadas y Divorciadas dicen que, desde 1999, 92 menores han sido asesinados por parejas o ex parejas de sus madres, como víctimas de violencia de género.




[printable page]

RBG strikes again.

In a 5-3 ruling on Monday, the United States Supreme Court struck down a pair of Texas abortion restrictions that would have shut down dozens of clinics across the state.

While Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Stephen Breyer in his majority opinion, she penned her own scathing concurring opinion that, in one brief paragraph, warns lawmakers across the country that medically unnecessary abortion restrictions will never be tolerated by the high court. 

The 2013 Texas law that the court struck down would have required all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals, instead of regular clinics. Ginsburg kept her argument simple: Abortions are statistically safer than many simpler medical procedures, including tonsillectomies, colonoscopies, in-office dental surgery and childbirth — but Texas does not subject those procedures to the same onerous requirements. 

“Given those realities, it is beyond rational belief that H.B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions,’ Ginsburg wrote. “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners ... at great risk to their health and safety.”


SEE ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms That Even ‘Reckless’ Domestic Abusers Should Lose Gun Rights

[printable page]

Abortions — legal or otherwise — may be increasing in Latin American countries where the Zika virus is spreading, new research suggests.

The data, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provide an early glimpse of a hard-to-track phenomenon that may be altering the way this unprecedented Zika outbreak is recorded in the annals of medical history.

Requests for abortion-inducing drugs shot up in some Zika-affected countries after the alarm was raised about Zika infection in pregnancy, according to researchers who analyzed traffic to the website of an international nonprofit organization that provides the drugs early in pregnancy. The requests rose by between 36 and 108 percent. Abortion restrictions are widespread across Central and South America.


[printable page]

Annotation:  This study determined the prevalence and nature of police crime in the United States based on arrest statistics; identified factors that influenced how an agency responded to arrests of its officers; and examined whether officer arrests correlated with other forms of police misconduct.

Google News searches identified 6,724 cases nationwide during 2005 through 2011. The arrests involved 5,545 individual sworn officers employed by 2,529 non-Federal State and local law enforcement agencies in 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. The rate of officers arrested was 0.72 officers arrested per 1,000 officers or a rate of 1.7 officers per 100,000 population nationwide. Data and discussion are provided for the following types of crime for which police were arrested: sex-related crimes, alcohol-related crimes, drug-related crimes, violence-related crimes, and profit-motivated crimes. The cases identified in this research stemmed largely from opportunities inherent in the context of police work, although 60 percent of all of the cases identified in this study occurred when the officer was technically off-duty. The organizational response to police crimes varied widely across all of these crime types. An arrest in itself mattered much less than the type of underlying criminal behavior that prompted the arrest. Sworn officers were known to have lost their jobs in only 38 percent of the alcohol-related cases, but lost their jobs in 72 percent of the sex-related arrests and 70 percent of the drug-related cases. The odds that an officer will lose his/her job increased significantly if they were criminally convicted on at least one charged offense. This study recommends that State and local law enforcement agencies conduct routine annual criminal background checks of every sworn officer and install comprehensive personnel assessment systems that collect a wide range of data. 84 tables, 28 figures, and approximately 150 references


[printable page]

"A Toxic Macho Culture" leads to 4th replacement of Oakand Police Chief in 9 days...


The shakeup comes amid a growing sex scandal. At the center of it is 18-year-old Celeste Guap, a prostitute who said she has had sex with as many as 28 police officers stretching across several counties and agencies, sometimes when she was a minor, sometimes for money and sometimes in exchange for information that would keep her from being arrested.


SEE ALSO: Disgust and dismay over Oakland police sex scandal as department is called 'a cesspool'

[printable page]

La declaración de una testigo del caso Torbe implicando a futbolistas internacionales vuelve a sacar a la luz la crueldad de estas redes que mueven 3.000 millones de euros al año

Madrid, 14 junio. 16. AmecoPress. En los últimos días la noticia de la posible vinculación de futbolistas internacionales y empresarios con delitos de explotación sexual que están siendo investigados ha llegado a las portadas de periódicos y los informativos de emisoras de radio y cadenas de televisión. Todo ha sido gracias a las declaraciones de la víctima que desencadenó la investigación al empresario del porno Torbe encarcelado desde el pasado abril por los delitos de trata de seres humanos con fines de explotación sexual, agresión sexual, pornografía infantil, prostitución, extorsión y contra la salud pública, además de blanqueo de capitales y contra la Hacienda Pública. Una vez más, se pone de manifiesto la complejidad y la implicación de muchos sectores sociales en las redes de trata, que mueven en España alrededor de 3.000 millones de euros al año.

Según datos oficiales, las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad del Estado, contabilizaron en 2015 a 13.892 personas en riesgo de caer en manos de redes destinadas a la explotación sexual, y desarticularon 42 organizaciones y grupos criminales. La mayoría de las víctimas identificadas por las autoridades en 2015 eran rumanas, españolas y nigerianas –estas últimas han aumentado mucho, según ha denunciado la Asociación para la Prevención, Reinserción y Atención a Mujeres Prostituidas, APRAMP-.

La víctima-testigo en el llamado caso Torbe contó a la Policía que fue obligada en 2012 a mantener relaciones sexuales contra su voluntad, implicando a futbolistas internacionales: David de Gea, hoy portero del Manchester United y a Iker Muniain, delantero del Athletic de Bilbao.

Lamentablemente, el asunto genera más interés por el “compromiso” en el que ha puesto a los futbolistas y las consecuencias en la Eurocopa, que por mostrar la violencia que se está ejerciendo sobre miles de mujeres. Mujeres que no responden a un único perfil, pero que en todos los casos, a pesar de haber sido víctimas de un engaño y de haber sido forzadas a ejercer la prostitución, se suelen sentir culpables y avergonzadas.


[printable page]

When she came out to her mother at age 14, Laura Esquivel said her mother was upset for many reasons, but mostly because she was afraid for her.

"She was afraid I wouldn't be happy. Afraid I would get hurt. Afraid how people who would treat me, about the possibility of being physically hurt," said Esquivel, Hispanic Federation national policy director.

Esquivel, who founded one of the first national Latino LGBTQ groups - LLEGO - is mourning the deaths of the victims in the Orlando, Fla. shooting. None of those named as of Monday afternoon were people she knew, but as a Latina and lesbian, talking of the tragedy with an NBC News Latino brought her to tears.



Latino Community Hit Hard in Orlando Shootings, Most Victims Were Hispanic


[printable page]


Intervention Following Family Violence: Best Practices and Helpseeking Obstacles in a Nationally Representative Sample of Families With Children


Annotation:  This study provides the first nationally representative data on service contact, police or advocate best practices, and help-seeking obstacles for family violence that involved exposure to children.

Ten best practices were offered in 13–58 percent of police contacts and 34–97 percent of advocate contacts. Most police best practices were associated with increased likelihood of arrest. Referrals and information about restraining orders and shelter were associated with victim-perpetrator separation. There was marked case attrition for all criminal justice services, including reporting to police, in-person police responding, arrest, convictions, and incarceration.

Only 10 cases resulted in jail time. Counter to the hypothesis, higher rates of some police best practices were associated with lower likelihood of advocate contact. Also unexpectedly, higher rates of some obstacles, such as lack of transportation, were associated with higher use of police services. The study recommends referral to specific resources as a focus of crisis intervention efforts. Some family’s needs may be served by a single provider if best practices are used. Some obstacles may influence which services are sought rather than depress helpseeking altogether. These nationally representative data can be used as benchmarks for program evaluations and needs assessments. A nationally representative sample of 517 family-violence incidents was drawn from the 4,503 respondents to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence II. .(Publisher abstract modified)

[printable page]

A 20-year-old woman missing since late April was found dead on May 16, 2016. The suspect is a former Marine who is a civilian employee of the US military at Kadena Airbase. Local police report that he confessed to the woman's rape and murder, and told them the location of her corpse. This crime comes barely six weeks after a US sailor assigned to Camp Schwab was arrested for the rape of a Japanese woman in a Naha hotel. Following that crime, Lt. General Lawrence Nicholson, III Marine Expeditionary Force commander, visited Prefectural Governor Onaga Takeshi to "express my deepest regret and remorse at the incident."

What General Nicholson called "the incident" is one of more than 500 crimes designated as heinous under Japanese law, including approximately 120 rapes, committed by US forces in Okinawa since it reverted from US military occupation to Japanese administration in 1972. As Takazato Suzuyo points out in her interview below, the 120 reported rapes are only "the tip of an iceberg" since most rapes in Okinawa and elsewhere go unreported.

The April rape and murder was committed on the eve of President Obama's highly publicized trip to Japan for the G-7 Summit and a visit to Hiroshima for a speech advocating nuclear weapons reductions. Shortly after Obama's arrival, he held a meeting with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to discuss the rape and murder in Okinawa. During their stern-faced appearance before the cameras that followed, Abe told reporters "this is an unforgivable crime, and I have expressed our anger." Obama expressed his "deepest regrets."

Yet official efforts were already underway to downplay and trivialize this latest atrocity as "the Okinawa issue" (沖縄問題), and not the responsibility of the Japanese and US governments for imposing 73% of the American military presence in all of Japan on this small island prefecture.


[printable page]

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is accused of fatally shooting his wife and four daughters in their family home and then fleeing in his car, authorities said Sunday.

Juan David Villegas-Hernandez remained at large a day after the five victims were found dead, Roswell police said.

A relative who went to check on the family late Saturday discovered the bodies, police spokesman Todd Wildermuth said. Officers responded and found all five had suffered gunshot wounds.

A medical examiner will conduct autopsies to confirm the victims' identities and cause of death. But police believe they are Villegas-Hernandez's wife and the couple's children, Wildermuth said. Investigators say the suspect and his 34-year-old wife share four daughters ages 14, 11, 7 and 3.

The shooting likely occurred earlier in the day, Wildermuth said.

Villegas-Hernandez may be driving a red, four-door Ford pickup with New Mexico license plate KJS479.



[printable page]

Zika Crisis Has Exposed Long-Standing Neglect of Women’s Reproductive Health Needs in Latin America and the United States

In Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in the United States, the Zika epidemic has exposed the often hostile policy, programmatic and legal environment women face on issues surrounding pregnancy, argues a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. This long-standing failure by policymakers to prioritize women’s health and autonomy has left women—especially those who are poor—more vulnerable to the potential consequences of Zika than they would otherwise be.


[printable page]

How one photographer documented the epidemic of hidden abuse inside our nation’s homes.

It was 1981 and Donna Ferrato wanted to photograph people in love. More precisely, she was interested in swingers who frequented New York’s sex clubs. 

And so, she found the perfect polyamorous couple to focus her lens on. They were happy, wealthy and fashionable, and welcomed her into their New Jersey home for weeks at a time so she could intimately document their lives.  

But one night, she witnessed something entirely unexpected: The husband brutally attacked his wife, striking her in the face. Ferrato snapped a photo thinking it would make him stop. It didn’t. 

She sat on the undeveloped film for months, weighing what to do. Then, she began what has come to define her life’s work: documenting the horrors of domestic violence.

Armed with her camera, she crossed the country visiting domestic violence shelters, emergency rooms, batterers’ programs, police stations and prisons. In 1991, she published Living with the Enemy, a book that, for the very first time, revealed in shocking detail the private violence that went on inside American homes.


[printable page]

CAMPINA GRANDE, Brasil —  En febrero, cuando Marina Leite tenía semanas de embarazo, llegó a un hospital con dificultades para hablar o respirar.

Tenía el doble de la cantidad normal de líquido amniótico, una complicación que pone en riesgo la vida y que, según los médicos, sucede por graves deformidades en el feto relacionadas con el virus de Zika.

Una semana después, a Marina, de 35 años, se le practicó un aborto.

“Seguí lo que me dictó el corazón y el consejo de mis doctores para sobrevivir”, contó.

En casi todas las circunstancias, el aborto es un delito con una condena de hasta tres años de cárcel en Brasil. Pero en el caso de Marina, debido al riesgo que corría su salud, su aborto fue considerado legal y los doctores estaban dispuestos a practicarlo.

En Brasil, un país donde el acceso al aborto legal es muy restringido, el zika ha multiplicado el miedo a los defectos de nacimiento. Por ejemplo, algunas mujeres han optado por abortos ilegales antes de saber si sus bebés tenían microcefalia.

Un estudio realizado en 2013, mucho antes de que apareciera el zika, reveló que cada año se practican unos 900.000 abortos ilegales en Brasil. El año pasado, el número de mujeres que buscó atención médica debido a abortos mal hechos superó el de mujeres a quienes se les practicaron abortos legales en una proporción de casi 100 a uno, según los cálculos del Ministerio de Salud del país.


[printable page]

Justice and Peace is launching a new call for Human Rights Defenders to participate in the Shelter City Initiative.

The Shelter City Initiative offers human rights defenders a possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape temporarily from a threatening situation. Shelter City is a last resort when shelter in the region is not possible and the safety of the human rights defender in question cannot be guaranteed. The programme’s objective is to offer the human rights defender a shelter for three months, during which she/he will rest, build up capacity and extend her/his network. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home. An important principle of the Shelter City Initiative is that human rights defenders continue their work while they are temporarily relocated.

From September 2016, several cities in The Netherlands will receive human rights defenders for a period of three months. We are looking for human rights defenders who might be helped with a short relocation programme, because they are threatened or under intense pressure due to their work. Please circulate this message to all interested candidates who you may know.

Applicants must fulfil the following conditions:

  • The HRD can be a human rights defender in the broad sense of the word (lawyers, members of NGOs, poets or artists can all apply, as long as their work promotes Human Rights or he/she fights against human rights violations)
  • The HRD is threatened or otherwise under intense pressure and can be helped by a short period of time abroad
  • The HRD should be able and willing to return to the country of origin after 3 months
  • The HRD should be willing to speak out in public
  • The HRD should be willing/able to come alone, as there is currently no possibility for HRDs to come to The Netherlands with their partner and/or family under the Shelter City program
  • The HRD has to be willing to come to the Netherlands around September 2016

The HRDs can make use of their period in The Netherlands to rest; build up their capacities through various courses and trainings, network and raise awareness about the situation in their country.

To apply or submit the application of a human rights defender, please e-mailsheltercity@justiceandpeace.nl. You will then receive an application form. Application forms must be returned before 24 June 2016. An independent commission will  select the participants.

Note that the selected human rights defenders will not be automatically allowed into the shelter programme as Justice and Peace is not in control of issuing the required visas to enter The Netherlands.

For more information, please contact Alexia Falisse, alexia.falisse[@]justiceandpeace.nl/+31 70 763 1493 or sheltercity[@]justiceandpeace.nl.


[printable page]