Due to cultural preferences for sons, 100 million girls are missing worldwide. Carl Gierstorfer looks at India, a country with a highly skewed sex ratio that threatens to destabilize its society.
In crisis areas, it is often women and children who suffer most. Countries with underdeveloped economies and countries at war face countless difficulties, but stories of the particular misery faced by women and children are often overlooked - resulting in far-reaching human, social and economic consequences.
Women, Children, Crisis pulls from a number of reporting projects around the globe that illuminate the adversity and outright crimes endured by women and children.
The United Nations estimates that over 200,000 women have been raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed groups use rape to spread disease and wreck or uproot communities, with shame turning victims into outcasts. These women suffer first by their rapists and secondly by husbands and family members who find it socially unacceptable to associate with them.
Aid agencies and international organizations recognize this mass-rape as a weapon of war. Another effect of war-torn countries where the duration of conflict eclipses generations is the use of child soldiers. Boys as young as seven are targeted by military leaders, given weapons and coerced into killing. There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today, and some 30,000 former child soldiers in Liberia alone. In Sudan, boys that escaped the fate of becoming child fighters are returning to their villages to survey the damage wrought by war. Many ex-soldiers have dedicated themselves to rehabilitating their countries and with a unique photography program, working to regain respect of their communities as peacemakers.
In Nepal, an estimated 15,000 - 20,000 girls, some as young as 6 years old, work in indentured servitude. Poor families belonging to the Tharu community, an indigenous ethnic group in southern Nepal's Terai, send their daughters to cities as domestic servants in exchange for money. These girls are known as 'Kamlaris.' Besides labor exploitation abuse is rampant and girls are often sexually abused, raped, starved and beaten. "Olga's Girls," is the story of one woman's mission to end the practice and rescue these girls.