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[16days_discussion] Press Release: Groups Release Report Analyzing Sexual Exploitation in Haiti

Lisa D ldavis at
Thu Jan 12 11:25:10 EST 2012

*Haitian Women and Girls Trading Sex to Survive*
*Groups Release Report Analyzing Sexual Exploitation*

*January 12, 2012—New York, NY—*Two years after an earthquake devastated
Haiti, a report detailing the impact of sexual exploitation on displaced
Haitian women and girls has been released. The report is authored by MADRE,
the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV), the International
Women’s Human Rights (IWHR) Clinic at the City University of New York
(CUNY) School of Law, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law (GJC)
and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the
Law (CGRS).

The drastic increase in sexual violence in displacement camps has been well
documented since the disaster. But another face of the epidemic has emerged
as a pressing issue: the sexual exploitation of displaced women and girls.

Displaced women and girls have lost family and community members, along
with the protection and safety nets those relationships offered. Because of
poverty and a lack of economic opportunity, many women and girls are forced
to trade sex for shelter, money or even a single meal. In many cases, those
demanding sex are the very people who hold themselves out as
representatives of the people—members of camp committees.

The report was compiled based on interviews with Haitian women and girls
who have either engaged in transactional sex or who know people who have.
Information was also collected through interviews with Haitian government
officials, service providers and women’s rights advocates. The report
highlights current barriers to addressing sexual exploitation and offers
recommendations to protect the human rights of women and girls engaging in
transactional sex. In addition, the report offers a unique legal analysis
of the protections available for women and girls who have experienced a
wide range of human rights violations associated with sexual exchanges.

Marie Eramithe Delva, co-founder of KOFAVIV said today, “Displaced women
and girls are being forced by circumstance into survival sex. It is an
epidemic, but one that has gotten little attention from the Haitian
government or international community.”

Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Clinical Professor of
Law for the IWHR Clinic at CUNY Law School said today, “International law
recognizes that an individual’s decision to engage in sex should be the
result of free choice. The majority of women and girls interviewed do not
have a choice. They are displaced and with few other options. In turn, they
are at increased risk of sexual violence and health threats. We must shed
light on this crisis.”

Blaine Bookey, Staff Attorney for the CGRS said today, “Although almost all
individuals interviewed for this report recognized that sexual exploitation
is widespread, representatives of government agencies responsible for
addressing sexual exploitation hold stereotypes related to gender and
poverty that present an obstacle to implementing practical solutions.
Beyond this, the Haitian government’s inability to develop a meaningful
response to sexual exploitation is also due to a stark lack of resources. I
am hopeful the report will help breakdown these harmful stereotypes and
bring much needed resources to bear.”

Margaret Satterthwaite, Professor of Clinical Law for the GJC and Faculty
Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of
Law said today, “Survival sex will not end until Haitian women and girls
can access what they need to live.  Haitian women want economic
opportunities and the capacity to access basic resources.  The
international community should work closely with the Haitian government to
create jobs, extend microcredit to women, and provide free education to

*Virtual Briefing:* Join the authors of this report on Tuesday January 17
at 1 pm EST, for a conference call. RSVP at media at for call-in

*To read the report in full, **click

*Available for interview:*

*Marie Eramithe Delva* (KOFAVIV) is a longtime advocate for human rights in
Haiti.  She is the co-founder of KOFAVIV, a grassroots women’s
organization. She has founded numerous other associations and grassroots
organizations prior to co-founding KOFAVIV in 2004.
(Contact: Stephanie Küng 212-627-0444)

*Lisa Davis, Esq.* (MADRE and the IWHR Clinic at CUNY School of Law) was a
co-author of the report and currently serves as the Coordinator for the
Lawyers' Earthquake Response Network (LERN) Gender Working Group. She is a
member of the New York City Bar Association’s International Human Rights
Committee and the National Lawyers’ Guild Haiti Subcommittee. Lisa is a
Clinical Professor of Law for the International Women's Human Rights Clinic
at CUNY Law School.
(Contact: Stephanie Küng 212-627-0444)

*Blaine Bookey, Esq. *(UC Hastings) was a co-author of this report. She has
worked as a legal fellow with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux where
she helped launch the organization’s Rape Accountability and Prevention
Project. Prior to joining the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies as a
Staff Attorney she clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third
(Contact: 415-515-8956)

*Margaret Satterthwaite *(NYU School of Law) was a co-author of the report
and has recently concluded a study on sexual violence in Haiti’s IDP
camps.  She has worked for a variety of human rights organizations,
including Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and the Haitian
Commission Nationale de Verité et de Justice, and has consulted with
various U.N. agencies.  She is a Professor of Clinical Law, director of the
Global Justice Clinic, and faculty director of the Center for Human Rights
and Global Justice at NYU School of Law.
(Contact: 212-998-6657)
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