Brazil: Sex tourism
We continue to work with a pro-bono law firm on the civil case filed on behalf of a number of girls in Brazil who were sexually exploited by a “fishing tour” company that brought American sex tourists to the Amazon. AGLDF is in contact with a number of Brazilian NGOs to try to arrange for services and vocational training for the girls who are the plaintiffs in the case.
The civil case against the sex tour operator is currently on hold pending the completion of the criminal investigation and possible prosecution, but we continue to monitor all developments.
In early 2012, Equality Now submitted a shadow report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for its review of Brazil. As a result of the submission, the Committee questioned the Brazilian government as to what they were doing to prevent sex tourism and called on them to combat and prevent sex tourism.
Additionally, the Brazilian Senate is conducting its own inquiry into the sex tourism allegations against the operator as part of a larger inquiry into human trafficking in general, and they have held hearings during which the Brazilian co-owner of the tour operation and the Federal Police officer investigating the case testified. Equality Now was able to meet with the Brazilian delegation in charge of the issue of trafficking and lobbied them to take measures to stop the abuse of girls through sex tours.
Uganda: Rape of disabled girlEquality Now continues to support the case of N.S., a 13-year-old disabled girl who was raped and subsequently gave birth to a child in Uganda. Currently, N.S. lives in a home for the disabled, and AGLDF has provided some funding for her care.
We followed up on the DNA testing of the alleged perpetrators in the case (which AGLDF was able to successfully raise funds for as the Ugandan government refused) and were informed that the Government Chemist has still not released the results despite the fact that DNA testing was conducted almost a year ago. Equality Now, along with our Ugandan partner LAPD, plans to issue an Action on the case to our Equality Action Network calling on the government to ensure that DNA test results in this case are released immediately so that the perpetrator can be identified, arrested and prosecuted. In addition, we will ask that Ugandan authorities ensure that special measures are taken to investigate and prosecute sexual violence against disabled victims. We hope to release this action in late July/early August.
Pakistan: Gang rape by police In December 2011, we took on the case of 16-year-old Uzma Ayub who was kidnapped and gang raped by a number of men including police and army officers. Uzma became pregnant as a result of the rapes. On 9 December 2011, Uzma and her 25-year-old brother, who had been supporting her efforts for justice, were attacked outside a local courthouse, and Uzma's brother was brutally shot dead. The High Court took notice of the case and called for thorough inquiries and strict action against all perpetrators and the police officers who failed to take action in both the rape and murder cases. Fourteen arrests were made.
On 19 June, the Peshawar High Court in Pakistan dismissed its December 2011 inquiry into this case reportedly because of inconclusive DNA and lie-detector test results. Uzma's gang-rape case and her brother's murder case are still pending at the lower court, and Equality Now and our partners are strategizing on next steps.
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Program Officer for Sexual Violence, Trafficking and FGM