| Kamala Sarup: War Increases Prostitution
Thursday, 9 December 2004, 2:14 pm
Opinion: Kamala Sarup
War Increases Prostitution
By Kamala Sarup
Amnesty International said on Wednesday: ''Women and girls in war zones suffer rape and violent abuse while offenders escape punishment, Because national authorities have failed to act to halt such abuses. Despite promises, treaties and legal mechanisms, governments failed to protect women and girls in conflicts in Colombia, Iraq Sudan, Chechnya, Nepal and Afghanistan the report said.''
Amnesty's secretary general, Irene Khan said in an interview "What we have seen consistently is that if you don't prosecute and punish then, there is a tendency for it to continue. Women and girls are not just killed, they are raped, sexually attacked, mutilated and humiliated. She further said no official statistics were kept, so it was impossible to say whether the situation was worsening.
The report urged political leaders to openly condemn violence against women and cooperate with the court in bringing offenders to justice. It also recommended the urgent provision of medical and humanitarian support for female survivors of abuse.
War fuels Prostitution
Millions of women are involved in prostitution for survival on the streets. As a sad illustration of further social decay, there are about a millions women who have turned to prostitution due to the war-caused break down of social structures and traditional security mechanisms in the World. Thus, many women see the streets and prostitution as a way to freedom from conflict. Some women are also see in prostitution a way to earn more money.
The prostitution of girls in Asia and in Africa the direct consequence of years of economic crisis, and the low status afforded to women in the country. Because women have a limited access to occupations and resources, they are the ones hardest hit during economic crisis. Poverty is definitely linked to prostitution but poverty is not the only reason It exacerbates an already desperate situation caused by war. Poverty is leading many women into street prostitution.
Growing up in Asia and in Africa is not an easy task for today's girls, especially for those being raised in the country's conflict-ridden rural areas. For the displaced, especially poorly educated teenage girls whose wage-earning skills are often limited working in the fields, there are few options: remain and risk being killed; often for a life of prostitution; or join one of the armed groups. War and poverty are bringing more and more girls from village into cities.
"A nation at war, is generally speaking a nation unable or unwilling to meet basic human needs. And it's a human rights problem of enormous dimensions and government has a responsibility to help to eradicate this problem. While war-affected women more likely to be sexually abused. It is important to know if women and girls are turning to prostitution for food and shelter. Women and girls should then be offered protection through programs which tackle the root causes of the problem, lack of security and income". Chiranjibi Budhathoki argued.
In a bid to escape poverty, conflict and abuse in the country, an increasing number of women are turning to prostitution. Prostitutes operating in bars, restaurants and hotels. Some night club owners reportedly allow under-age girls into clubs for sexual exploitation by clients. Most of the displaced are from rural areas and entering urban settings, the pressure for immediate cash is enormous. The search for jobs is complicated. It has been reported that many girls start having sexual relations, and become prostitutes. That the vast majority of women who find themselves as prostitutes in Asia and and Africa are there unwillingly.
"There have been no studies linking displacement and prostitution. Clearly, reliable studies and data on sexual exploitation and prostitution and the link to displacement are urgently needed. Rather than fighting country's social and economic injustices, many other teenage girls are desperately seeking to escape the violence and poverty so prevalent in rural areas". Chiranjibi said.
Unfortunately, one of the only wage-earning options available to many young, poorly educated females is prostitution. The direct impacts of the war on women are wide ranging. On the other hand, Left with no home, no income, women ending up begging or prostituting themselves in order to provide food. Hunger and war form the backdrop to this furtive exchange, for deepening poverty is driving increasing numbers of women to sell their bodies.
In South Asia and in South Africa, poverty was the main obstacle to the full realization of women's equality. It manifested itself in poor health, low levels of education, food insecurity and unemployment. Further, women constituted the majority of the population living in rural areas, and they suffered the consequences of unsophisticated farming practice