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Silver City, New Mexico: India Minister Wants Compulsory Prenatal Sex Tests

Joe V. Cowan 575 Bird Street Silver City, NM 88061

India’s Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has called for mandatory tests to determine the sex of an unborn child in a bid to counter high levels of female feticide, sparking fierce criticism from women’s activists.

Prenatal sex tests are officially illegal in India, a policy designed to stop many unborn girls being aborted by parents desperate for a boy.

In a speech late Monday, she said a more effective strategy would be to record the sex of a fetus at the outset of the pregnancy and then monitor its progress, reports france24.

“My view is why not to change the present policy. Every pregnant woman should be compulsorily told whether it is a boy or girl,” Gandhi said.

“When a woman becomes pregnant it should be registered and that way you will be able to monitor right until the end whether she gave birth or not and what happened,” she said in the western city of Jaipur.

Parents and doctors can be jailed for up to five years for asking for or conducting a pre-natal sex test but they are still thought to be widespread, particularly in impoverished rural areas.

A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India.

India had 940 women for every 1,000 men, according to the last official census published in 2011, up from 933 in 2001 in a trend that some campaigners say vindicates the current policy of banning sex tests.

Gandhi said she was “just putting out this idea” which was being discussed with her ministerial counterparts.

“We have not reached a conclusion, we are still discussing the pros and cons,” she said.

But women’s rights groups said a change of policy would be a mistake and result in women from rural areas coming under even more pressure from their families to have an abortion.

“This is not a very productive idea, in fact it could make things worse,” Ranjana Kumari, director of the Delhi-based Center for Social Research think tank, told AFP.

“This might work among educated women, but not for large numbers of women living in rural areas who are still under enormous pressure to live up to the social and cultural traditions to have a boy.”

The All India Democratic Women’s Association, a Delhi-based advocacy group, said that Gandhi’s proposal was “shocking” and appeared to aim at absolving the medical profession of responsibility for feticide levels.

“It will fuel a proliferation of illegal facilities for getting rid of unwanted female fetuses,” the organization said in a statement.

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NGO Aks Foundation raises funds for sex abuse helpline

PUNE: An exhibition-cum-sale of 40 paintings made by school children on the issue of child sexual abuse was specially organised by the NGO Aks Foundation to raise funds for two 24×7 helplines for sexual abuse victims in the city.

The event, named ‘Take Back the Night’, was held at Malaka Spice, Koregaon Park. The paintings highlighted the issue of sexual abuse and child abuse.

The dark depictions by school children was a real eye opener for many who attended the event. There were stalls displaying works of papier mache artist Sharwari Tiloo and wall art by Funky Potli. Many were also seen enjoying face painting at the event.

“The aim of the event was to raise funds for the setting up of two helplines which would offer counselling services to the victims,” said executive director and founder of Aks Foundation Barkha Bajaj.

She added that Aks is well equipped to handle individual and group counselling needs. This is an annual fund raising event which is in its fourth year now.

There were parents who had come with their children to see the exhibition and participate in the event. They said that it was a nice feeling to contribute to such a cause.

Expressing their thoughts on the theme, the guests said that “rape is never the fault of the victim” and that it is the “responsibility of society” to help these victims lead a normal life.

The event concluded with a ‘silent dance’ by Hrishikesh Pawar. A candlelight vigil was also organised at the end of the event.

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After suffering humiliation following sex video leak, Italian woman ends life

Jeffrey T. Byrd 3948 Granville Lane Newark, NJ 07102

NAPLES, Italy – The death of 31-year-old Tiziana Cantone has reignited the debate over social media bullying in Italy.

Italian-born, Tiziana was found dead in her aunt’s house in Mugnano, Italy after months of torture over a sex video that went viral.

While a debate ensued over her untimely demise, the funeral procession was broadcasted live as her friends as the family grieved.

Last year, Cantone had sent a sex video of herself to an ex-boyfriend and some other friends on phone.

Next day, the video made its way to the Internet. It didn’t take long for the video to become viral and a hot topic for joking, shaming and bullying. A phrase used by Cantone “You’re filming? Bravo” in the video became a point of joke and was printed on T-Shirts, smartphone cases and memes.

The phrase was often used in many parodies including the one made famous by Italian Serie A players Paolo Cannavaro and Antonio Floro Flores.

As per her mother Maria Teresa, Cantone had tried to take her life twice before and was deeply disturbed. She blames her ex-boyfriend for her untimely death.

“Recently, she had been very unhappy. She suffered from everything she saw and heard and in particular from the lawsuit, because she believed justice had not been done,” Teresa told investigators.

After getting recognised often on streets, she was forced to leave her job and city. She had even applied for her name to be changed.

In order to escape humiliation, Cantone even fought a legal battle to remove her video from online search engines including Facebook.

Her ruling ‘Right to Forgotten’ had caused many websites to take down the video. However, it kept remerging with other names.

Also, the court had ordered her to pay 20,000 euros in legal costs which many Italian media outlets quote as ‘final insult’ could be a driving force in her suicide.

The prosecutors in Naples, Italy have opened an investigation and taken four men for questioning into ‘incitement to suicide.’

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Spanish police: sex ring exploited minor billed as ‘virgin’

MADRID: Spanish police says they have freed a 16-year-old girl who was being advertised by an alleged prostitution ring as a virgin and have made seven arrests.

Police said Saturday that the ring was based in the southern resort town of Marbella.

The investigation was triggered by an anonymous tip sent by email to police.

The tip led police to find that the underage girl was being advertised on a prostitution website that claimed she was 18. Police say she was advertised as a virgin, with a price of 5,000 euros ($5,300).

Sex racket busted in 2 hotels, 88 held; senior cop shunted

GHAZIABAD: In a major crackdown on what police claimed was a thriving sex-trade racket, cops raided two hotels in Ghaziabad’s Bajaria area and arrested 88 people, including 44 women. The racket, they claimed, was being run from these hotels.

All those arrested are between 25 and 45 years old. They have been booked under various sections of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

A case has also been lodged against the owners of the two hotels, who police said are are on the run.

There was panic in Bajaria area when a large contingent of police personnel, mostly women cops, arrived at Hotel Arya Deep and Hotel Devender and in no time sealed the entry-exit points.

The cops then conducted a room-to-room search and rounded up 88 people, including the women. “The raid started at 11 am and continued for close to two hours in Hotel Arya Deep and Hotel Devender on the direct orders of the SSP,” said Aarti Soni, incharge of women’s cell. “There have been complaints that a sex racket was being run from these hotels which was found to be correct. We first rounded up 88 people, half of them women who were brought to Kotwali police station,” said Soni.

“While 40 people were found in Hotel Arya Deep, 48 were found in Hotel Devender. When questioned, they failed to come up with a satisfactory reply on their stay. They were first detained and later arrested,” said Soni.

“We have filed an FIR against 90 people, including Ravinder Yadav and Sachin, the owners of the two hotels. While the 88 people who were rounded up have been arrested, the two owners are still at large,” said Parshuram, SHO, Kotwali police station.

Speaking to TOI, SSP Deepak Kumar said cops in Kotwal, the nearest police station, were not involved in the raid. Later, IP Singh, circle officer of the area, was shifted for dereliction of duty while chowki incharge of Bajaria, Rakesh Pundir, was suspended.

“I had received complaints that a full-fledged prostitution racket was being run from these hotels and even the local policemen were said to be in the know of things,” said Kumar. “So on Sunday, to verify the complaint, I sent one of my officers in plain clothes, following which a special team was constituted which raided the hotels on Monday morning,” he added.

He said the role of local policemen would be probed. “Since the racket was being run right under the nose of the local police, there were allegations which suggested their complicity. So circle officer I P Singh has been removed while chowki in charge Rakesh Pundir suspended,” said Kumar.

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Los Angeles, California: Hawks smash sex ring

Lewis B. Blount 1122 Edsel Road Los Angeles, CA 90017

A syndicate of Nigerians smashed in Pretoria last month for human trafficking could face a R100-million fine or life in prison, or both, for trafficking 10 girls who they kept as sex slaves.

The three suspects were charged for contravening the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, South Africa’s main legislative weapon against human trafficking.

They also face charges including rape, drug-dealing, possession of drugs and theft of a motor vehicle.

The suspects were arrested in a flat in Arcadia after an investigation by the Hawks.

Hawks spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the operation also found 10 women in the flat.

“The women were being used for sex. Some of them told us they have been exploited for five years, some 10 years. One of them told us she has been doing it for 13 years, and she is only 25. ”

Netshiunda said the women were used for entertaining the syndicate’s guests.

“Those guys fed them drugs so that they can continue doing those things to them,” he said.

The women were taken for questioning and have since been released as the case against the three men continues.

“We want people to be aware that human trafficking is real. You are not only going to be trafficked by a stranger, a friend can do the same to you. These people promise them jobs and luxurious lives,” Netshiunda said.

A US state department report on worldwide human trafficking released in June cites South Africa as a source, transit region and destination country for men, women, and children forced into labour and sex trafficking.

“Nigerian syndicates dominate the commercial sex trade in several provinces,” the report reads.

Rene Hanekom of A21, a human-trafficking monitoring and prevention NGO, said the recorded numbers of victims did not reflect the reality of the situation.

“Those victims assisted by safe houses accredited by the Department of Social Development do not include victims who were not assisted by safe houses, or assisted in non-accredited shelters,” Hanekom said.

Embrace Dignity director Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said: “There are no reliable statistics about the extent of human trafficking in South Africa.

“Estimates indicate this is a fast-growing problem. With the passing of trafficking legislation, it is hoped that South Africa will begin to keep accurate records.”

Female Boko Haram victims in Nigerian camps forced to sell sex as food runs out

ABUJA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tired of watching her five children go hungry in a camp for people fleeing Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, Amina Ali Pulka decided to befriend a young man who worked in the kitchen.

Desperate due to the lack of aid distributed at the Bakassi camp in the city of Maiduguri, the 30-year-old had sex with the man in exchange for extra food to give to her children.

“I did it because I had nobody to feed me or clothe me,” Pulka told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, adding that the man, who like her had been uprooted by Boko Haram violence, also gave her money which she used to buy soap and other items.

Pulka is one of many women in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in northeast Nigeria who are selling sex in exchange for food, soap, and money, said medical charity International Medical Corps (IMC) and Nigerian research group NOI Polls.

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Aid agencies have warned of starvation, malnutrition and dwindling food supplies for the displaced in Borno State.

“At times, the food is not enough so the women resort to giving themselves for food and money,” said Hassana Pindar of the IMC, which runs support centers for women in the camps.

Boko Haram violence has left more than 65,000 people living in famine in the northeast, with one million others at risk, and more than half of children under five are malnourished in some areas of Borno state, a coalition of aid groups said last week.

The Islamist militant group has killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in Nigeria in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to Islamic laws.

A military offensive has driven Boko Haram from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, but the militants have continued to carry out suicide bombings and raids in northeast Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

SEX FOR FOOD AND FREEDOM

Almost 90 percent of people uprooted by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria do not have enough to eat, according to a survey last week by NOI Polls, which found that many women are trading sex for food and the freedom to move in and out of IDP camps.

The pollsters said that sexual abuse was a concern, and that the displaced accused camp officials of perpetrating it in two thirds of cases.

Hundreds of the displaced staged a protest last month in Maiduguri, accusing state officials of stealing food rations, prompting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to order police to arrest and make an example of the culprits.

In addition to mothers desperate to provide for their children, many teenage girls in Bakassi camp are sleeping with men in exchange for food, said IMC volunteer Fatima Alhaji.

“Some go out to beg on the streets, others go out of the camp to look for menial jobs, while others use their bodies to get food and money,” she said. “Everybody is talking about it.”

Five months pregnant, Pulka has been abandoned by the kitchen worker, while she has not seen her husband, who lives in the capital of Abuja with another of his wives, for three years.

Pulka said her husband, who has not visited the camp or sent any money, refused to come and take the children under his care.

Her oldest daughter, 15, is distraught about her pregnancy.

“She asks me why I am pregnant when their father has been away for three years … other people in the camp also ask me questions,” Pulka said. “I did it because of my children.” REUTERS

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