Fighting gender violence and protecting women's rights, the main objectives of UN Women. Thousands of initiatives around the world are setting up schemes to help woman and to protect them from violence. The statistics are horrific. From 2003 to 2007, 4,000 Iraqi women went missing in the aftermath of the illegal assault by the USA and its allies.
UN Women reveals that in the Middle East thousands of women are the victims of trafficking:
1. Between 2003-2007, 4,000 Iraqi women went missing, 1/5 of whom is under 18
2. Tens of thousands of Iraqi girls and women are trafficked internally and internationally into the sex trade
3. Iraqi women are trafficked mainly to Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf countries
4. Traffickers reportedly sell girls as young as 11, for as $30,000
5. Some traffickers have the girls operated on in severe conditions, whereby the hymen is sewn up, so the girls can be sold as virgins again
6. It has been reported that some girls and women are kidnapped, drugged and forced to have sex with between 10 and 15 men every day
7. Trafficked women and victims of sexual violence often find themselves in jail, while authorities ignore their exploiters and the society rejects them*
Karamatuna is the campaign called Our Dignity - Stop Women Trafficking in the Middle East
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* Statistics from UN Women
Yet it is not only women taking action. The White Ribbon Campaign is run by men. The Executive Director is Todd Minerson. The White Ribbon Campaign is 20 years old and is run in 60 countries, being the world's largest network of men "dedicated to ending violence against women". The focus of the campaign is on educating men and boys against gender violence.
The campaign started in 1991 in Canada, when some men decided to take action, wearing a white ribbon symbolising men's respect for and opposition to violence against women. Six weeks later, there were 100,000 men across Canada wearing the white ribbon.
According to UN Women, "Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Wearing a white ribbon is a way of saying, 'Our future has no violence against women.' "
The White Ribbon Campaign has five main vectors:
1. Challenging everyone to speak out, and think about their own beliefs, language and actions.
2. Educating young people, especially young men and boys, on the issue through the educational resources we produce.
3. Raising public awareness of the issue.
4. Working in partnership with women's organizations, the corporate sector, the media and other partners to create a future with no violence against women.
5. Supporting White Ribbon Campaigns around with our experience, resources and networks.
Join the White Ribbon Campaign Facebook group:
Source: UN Women
Photo credit: AP
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