Haitian Women and Girls Use Sex to Survive

by Intern Courtney

The earthquake that devastated Haiti two years ago has created an aftermath of disturbing consequences for displaced women and girls. A report released today specifies the effect of sexual exploitation on displaced Haitian women and girls. The report was authored by MADRE, the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV), Women’s Human Rights, Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, and  the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law.

The earthquake left Haiti in ruins; survivors were left to a life of displacement camps and struggle. While there’s been a severe rise in sexual violence at the camps, the epidemic has also created a situation that Marie Eramithe Delva, co-founder of KOFAVIV, describes as “survival sex.” Women and girls displaced by the events of January 12, 2010 find themselves without, family, support, and protection. For these women and girls, exchanging sex for services has become their only option.

The report, released today, compiles interviews with Haitian women and girls who’ve taken part in transactional sex or who know people who have, as well as government officials, service providers, and women’s rights advocates. The report also identifies the obstacles involved in addressing sexual exploitation, and offers suggestions for protecting the human rights of women and girls engaging in transactional sex.  Furthermore, the report proposes a unique legal analysis of the protections available for women and girls who’ve experienced human rights violations.

Hopefully this report will expose the issues at hand, and help to create awareness and much-needed resources. 

Text Source: MADRE

Image Source: talefromethehood.com

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