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Women In Haiti Face Widespread Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Exploitation 2 Years After Earthquake

Two years after Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, a “crisis of gender-based violence and exploitation is festering — and foreign aid efforts are still failing to protect survivor communities from harm, or to make the criminal justice system more accountable,” The Nation reports. “In a recent study of conditions surrounding four internally displaced people’s camps, researchers with the Global Justice Center and Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) estimate that ’14 percent of households reported that at least one member of the household had been a victim of sexual violence since the earthquake,'” the news service writes, adding, “Victims were typically young, female, and deprived of access to food, water and sanitation.”

“Prior to the quake, surveys showed that gender-based and sexual violence was widespread,” but “post-quake conditions have posed unique threats to survivor communities: the lack of safety patrols in camps, the breakdown of an already tattered government structure, and the erosion of social networks that leave women at greater risk,” the news service writes. “Despite recent efforts by Haiti’s government to strengthen policies against gender-based and sexual violence through legislation, [non-governmental organization] KOFAVIV co-founder Marie Eramithe Delva told The Nation that interaction with authorities has been ‘minimal'” and “added that recovery efforts would be advanced by closer collaboration between officials and grassroots organizations,” according to the news service (Chen, 2/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.