Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS

Sexual violence can take many forms. It violates the most basic of human rights, and its effects resonate long after the act. It also perpetuates the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV infection.

In the developing world 2 out of 3 young people living with HIV are female.

In some countries in Africa young women are five times more likely to be infected than young men.


Invitation to Join Study on Girls’ Rights!

I am currently the Co-chair of the NGO Committee on UNICEF – Working Group on Girls. One of our members is conducting a study on Girls’ Rights as part of her doctoral work at the University of Galway.

“Are you a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 years who is attending the upcoming 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2010? If so, then you are eligible to participate in an exciting study on girls’ rights at CSW54!

The study is titled, “What does it mean to be a girl with ‘rights’? A conversation with UN CSW girl delegates about how they understand and experience rights in their everyday lives.” The purpose of this research is to speak with girls about what rights mean to them and to explore how having rights impacts girls’ everyday lives.

To join the study:

– You must be attending CSW54,

– Be between the ages of 12-18 years, and

– Of course, be a girl!

Each participant is expected to attend 3 research sessions during CSW54 including:

– Peer-to-peer interview (where girls in the study interview one another),

– Focus group with all the girls in the study, and

– Individual interview.

Participation is voluntary and any information collected during the sessions will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. A maximum of ten girls will be selected for this research.

If you are interested in joining the study or finding out more information,visit:

Please contact Emily Bent at:”

UNICEF Executive Board Meets this Week

The UNICEF Executive Board meets this week at UN Headquarters in New York. The Executive Board is the governing body of UNICEF.  It consists of 36 members representing the five regional groups of Member States at the UN. This year the members are from

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Sudan, Zimbabwe

Eastern Europe
Croatia, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia

Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea

Latin America and the Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Uruguay

Western Europe and Others
Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America

UNICEF reports through its Executive Board to the United Nations General Assembly and to the Economic and Social Council. The role of the board is to oversee the work of UNICEF, to recommend new initiatives and to consult with the Secretary General on the appointment of the UNICEF Executive Director.

Highlighting this annual meeting will be a special focus on global health, with a particular focus on polio eradication.

Read more at:

Saving Girls in New York from ‘the life’

via UNICEF – At a glance: United States of America – Saving girls in New York from ‘the life’

Many of us like to think that trafficking, sex tourism, and sexual exploitation of very young girls is something that happens “over there” in developing countries, but we know that it is happening here, all around us, on the streets, and in our neighborhoods.

An estimated 300,000 children and adolescents are the victims of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the United States every year. – UNICEF

Last week at the DPI briefing for NGOs on “Violence against Women: 16 Days to Make a Difference,” we learned about the Girls Education and Mentoring Service (GEMS). GEMS is the only non-profit organization in New York State serving domestically trafficked and commercially exploited girls. Since it’s founding in 1998, around 250 girls have passed through it’s doors. Most have been helped to break free and build new lives.

The television premiere of the documentary “Very Young Girls,” which features young women who find GEMS at a crucial point on their journey from prostitution to empowerment will air on Showtime on December 11, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.

For more information about GEMS and to find out what you can do, visit