Shine a Light on Slavery!

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Passion 2013 and be a part of the End It Movement launch. I attended the conference on behalf of She Is Safe who was a 2013 Freedom Partner.

The End It Campaign was birthed from a movement of 60,000 college students who chose to shine a light on injustice and slavery. The mission of the movement is to ignite this generation to take a stand for the 27 million women, children and men who are currently enslaved in bonded labor, forced prostitution and domestic slavery. The End it Movement supports several coalition partners, including one of our featured organizations the International Justice Mission.

The crowd fell silent as 60,000 lights illuminated the night. It was powerful to experience such a large number of young people shining a light and taking a stand against one of the most pervasive injustice issues of our time.

This year I continue to take a stand against injustice, shine a light and raise my voice for those that are enslaved. As I wrote in a recent post, I believe that empowering women and grassroots initiatives is essential to combating modern day slavery in India and around the world. I am happy to join fellow Girls’ Globe bloggers as we continue the conversation and declare that we are in it to END IT!

Diane Fender, USA: Believes in freedom for those enslaved.

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Blogger Diane Fender #enditmovement #shinealight

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Justine Stacey, Canada: Shines a light on slavery!

Julia Wiklander, Sweden: Rise Up. End It.

Emma Saloranta, Finland: Supports the End It Movement!

Want to Shine a Light on Slavery?

Follow @enditmovement on Twitter and Instagram!

Visit their website to learn more!

Violence against women and girls: Business as usual is not enough

This week, we at Girls’ Globe are raising awareness about every-day violence against women and girls. Earlier this week, Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission published The Locust Effect, a book that paints a shameful picture of the lives of millions of poor people to whom experiencing violence is more a rule than an exception.

Though it’s clear that the road to a violence-free world remains long and that progress is currently too slow and too uneven, a lot is still happening in every corner of the world. Identifying promising interventions and celebrating success is important, and leveraging programs that have potential for scale-up and replication is crucial for sustainable progress on the road towards a violence-free world. At Girls’ Globe, we celebrate innovation and out-of-the box ways to deal with challenges that girls and women face around the world – and violence against women and girls is most definitely a challenge that needs to be tackled from all angles, and with innovative approaches.

We need innovation, because business as usual is simply not enough anymore. We need new tools, new programs, new players, new messages – because what we are doing now is not working well enough, or fast enough.

So how do we innovate to end violence against girls and women? Many organizations are using new technologies to end violence and increase women’s and girls’ safety. Platforms such as HarassMap, launched in Egypt in 2011, allow women and girls to report incidences of violence which are geotagged, helping users to identify hotspots for violence. Last year, the World Bank organized a hackathon in Kathmandu to create mobile applications to end gender-based violence. Similar hackathon was also organized to address domestic violence in Central America. Technology can be used to share messages that promote social and normative change, to allow women to report incidences of violence, and access information on what their rights are and where to get help.

Photo courtesy of UN Women/Fatma Elzahraa Yassin

Non-technology based innovations are equally, if not more, important. Many poor people still lack access to ICTs, and therefore non-technology innovations are crucial for ensuring that progress reaches the most poor and most marginalized. Every year, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women provides grants to organizations around the world working on ending violence against women and girls. Last year, grants were given to Grassroot Soccer in South Africa, an organization using soccer and sports as a way to foster girls’ empowerment; a project in Fiji that included establishing mobile health clinics to provide improved access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and sexual assault counseling and referral services; and a project in India that aims to change prevailing accepting attitudes towards violence against women and girls through a multi-pronged approach involving use of media, community mobilization and leadership training – among others. Many of the funded projects also address the issue of weak or non-existent laws or insufficient implementation and enforcement of laws – a topic that is covered in detail in The Locust Effect.

Violence puts at risk all other aspects of women’s and girls’ lives – their health, their education, their independence, their income, their ability to made decisions and participate in their communities, their empowerment – their life. It is clear that there is no silver bullet to this problem, no magical solution, no one size fits all model – but what is also clear is that it takes all of us to change the reality that millions of women and girls face every day: A reality filled with violence and fear. Change starts from the grassroots, from awareness that turns into action, and we each have a role to play. YOU can start by finding ways to volunteer in your community; by speaking and standing up against violence everywhere; and by visiting The Locust Effect to learn more  about the universal plague of violence and about what you can do to help. Time to think outside the box and step up the efforts – there is simply no more time to waste.

GG IJM Twitter Chat

Featured image courtesy of Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

How Violence Plagues the Poor

“The locusts of everyday violence have been allowed to swarm unabated in the developing world. And they are laying waste to the hope of the poor.”
– Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros in their new book, The Locust Effect

At the International Justice Mission, we come face to face every day with the reality that poor people are vulnerable to violence. Globally, the facts are stunning. Nearly 30 million children, women and men are held as forced labor slaves. One in 5 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape – and sexual violence makes everyday activities like going to school, gathering water, using a communal restroom or taking public transport dangerous.

The truth is that 4 billion people  – that most of the world’s poorest people – live in places where their justice systems don’t or can’t protect them from these kinds of “everyday violence.”

We, at the International Justice Mission just put together this unforgettable video that shows what the world is up against as we work together to help our poorest neighbors.  You won’t want to miss the powerful moment at 1:48 – – our fight against poverty is worth safeguarding.