New York lawmakers voted to pass a package of bills to strengthen protections for victims of human trafficking, Capital reported March 16. One of the bills in the package had been shelved for two years as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Agenda. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, will increase penalties for sex and human trafficking violations and establish an affirmative defense for victims of sex trafficking.
The State Senate’s Republican majority has already passed the human trafficking bill and eight other pieces of legislation included in the Women’s Equality Act, but its members are resistant to the 10th piece of the agenda, which would codify a woman’s right to an abortion in the state’s health law.
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A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate this week could make a huge difference for working families, Human Rights Watch said in a press release. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act would create a national paid family and medical leave system. Modeled after several successful state family leave insurance programs, this bill would enable workers to receive partial pay for up to 12 weeks of leave to care for new children or seriously ill family members, or to deal with their own serious health conditions.
France is likely to pass a bill banning excessively thin fashion models as well as potentially fining the modeling agency or fashion house that hires them and sending the agents to jail, the Guardian reported March 17.
Colorado lawmakers have begun wearing IUD-shaped earrings and pins to support a bill that would fund the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, The Huffington Post reported March 17. The initiative, which provides IUDs and other forms of contraceptives to women, is funded by a private grant that will expire in June. Supporters hope the jewelry will raise awareness about the initiative as well as IUDs.
Two Indian women’s powerful rap message addressing sexual violence in India has gone viral, the Independent reported March 17. The rap video, which garnered thousands of views within a few hours, was released just days after reports indicated an elderly nun had been gang raped in India and following national outcry after the Indian government attempted to ban the broadcast of a BBC documentary on the 2012 gang rape of Jyoti Singh.
Hundreds of Brown University students silently marched across the campus March 18 to protest the college’s handling of recent sexual assault allegations, saying the school is trying to protect its reputation rather than the victims of assault, ABC News reported March 11. About 400 protesters gathered. Many participants taped a $1 bill across their mouth, saying it symbolized how the victims have been silenced. Organizers have been using the hashtag #MoneyTalksAtBrown on social media sites to draw attention to the allegations.
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The Nigerian Police Force is not only failing to pay all the financial benefits owed to the families of their officers killed in action against Boko Haram militants, but in some cases sexual favors and kickbacks have been demanded of the widows in return for the dues they did receive, IRIN News reported March 17.
ISIS is using similar online grooming tactics as pedophiles to lure Western girls to their cause, Newsweek reported March 17. An investigation by Canada’s Global News has revealed how the Islamic militant group attempted to entice one of the show’s producers, who was posing as a 15-year-old girl on Twitter.
Japanese authorities are investigating phone calls made last month threatening to kill U.S Ambassador Caroline Kennedy plus another American diplomat, ABC News reported March 18.
Five of the feminist activists taken into custody in China nearly two weeks ago remain in custody, Feministing reported March 19. The activists are reported to be in poor health and have been denied medical attention.
Thousands of people joined a silent procession in protest against the rape of an elderly nun in the Indian state of West Bengal, the BBC reported March 16. Ten men have been detained in connection with the incident. But none of them resemble the six alleged attackers who were caught on CCTV burgling the convent before the 74-year-old nun was raped. The nun is in stable condition in a Kolkata hospital.
In a document released this week by Human Rights Watch, 22 organizations are urging Spain’s ruling Popular Party to withdraw a bill that would force 16 and 17 years old to get consent from their parents in order to have an abortion. The organizations say the proposed legislation poses serious threats to the sexual health and reproductive rights of girls and creates unjustified barriers to obtaining a safe and legal abortion. Under the current law, these teens need to inform their parents, but consent is not required.
In a document from the United Nation’s annual Commission on the Status of Women report, Israel was the only country and U.N. member mentioned violating women’s rights, Ynetnews reported March 20. The document criticizes Israel for its occupation of the West Bank, which has led to high levels of employment and poverty, especially with Palestinian women. The document also claims Palestinian women have difficulty obtaining basic services and health care.
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