Monthly Archives: June 2011

Racist Anti-Choice Billboard Campaigns Spreading Throughout US

The billboards in Los Angeles read, in both Spanish and English, “The Most Dangerous Place for a Latino is in the Womb.” Samhita at Feministing said that by targeting Latina women in this way, the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles (the group who took responsibility for the billboards) was “strategically playing on racist anxieties.” She stated that this kind of anti-choice campaign is “not effective in actually reducing how many women need abortions or access to forms of birth control, it just divides communities of color and shames women.”

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, along with Trust Black Women and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice condemned the campaign. The Institute “denounced the deeply offensive and racist billboard campaign.” The organization stated that “As the only national Latina reproductive health and justice organization, we are outraged by these condescending ad campaigns.  These offensive ads have no place in our communities.”

Veronica Bayetti at the Ms. Magazine blog points out that the billboards “attack all women and promote the notion that women cannot be trusted to make personal decisions about their own bodies and their families” without addressing the inequalities that cause the disproportionate number of unplanned pregnancies and abortion in women of color. Indeed,

Women of color are disproportionately barred from access to the most basic of reproductive health services, including birth control, and therefore have higher rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. But instead of expanding the range of reproductive health care options available to women of color, the billboards focus on sensationalizing unintended pregnancy and abortion. They fail to acknowledge the structural inequities at play, such as the distressing fact that Latinas have the highest rates of uninsurance out of any other group of women… Immigration plays a role in that: Immigrant women are often ineligible for public programs, such as Medicaid, that could help them have access to comprehensive reproductive care–from pap smears to birth control./blockquote)

After an uproar by numerous groups who took offense at the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles use of racism to push their anti-choice agenda, the Los Angeles billboards were removed. Miriam at Feministing called the removal of the billboards “a win” for those campaigning against the billboards which she called “tantamount to hate speech.”

However, the fight to stop anti-choicers from putting up racist billboards is not over.  Targeting women of color in anti-choice campaigns began with an initiative in Atlanta  which claimed “black children are an endangered species,” referencing the fact a black woman in the US is four times more likely to have an abortion in her lifetime than a white woman.  However, like the racist signs targeting Latinas, an article for Colorlines points out that these billboards make no attempt to raise awareness about the fact that this disparity is caused by a relatively high rate of unplanned pregnancies among black women, an “imbalance that derives from larger health disparities: lack of access to health care, lower rates of contraceptive use, and higher rates of untreated STDs and of preventive disease overall.”

Unfortunately, despite protestations from advocacy groups, racist anti-choice signs are appearing in more and more cities. This month at least 25 billboards in Oakland, CA appeared emblazoned with the slogan “Black and Beautiful” with a link to an anti-choice website. The sign is similar to those that have already appeared in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The California NAACP stated that the Oakland billboards are racist “and urged groups to pressure any billboard company that decides to conduct business with the Radiance Foundation [the organization responsible for the signs] or any group affiliated with it.”

Racist anti-choice billboards targeting women of color are not only insulting, but neglect to address the injustices that cause the disproportionate rate of abortions in minority communities-namely, an increased rate of unplanned pregnancies cause by lack of access to adequate health care, birth control, and education about reproductive health. Though advocacy organizations have managed to get the Los Angeles billboards targeting Latinas taken down, more racist billboards are appearing all over the country. You can learn more about this disturbing trend in anti-choice campaigns by reading the entire Colorlines article here.

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Filed under Contraception, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights

New International Treaty Will Protect Domestic Workers

On June 16th The International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers, a treaty which will guarantee the labor rights of domestic workers around the globe. “Domestic workers” includes any workers who work in or for a household or households such as nannies, chauffeurs, and housekeepers. Human Rights Watch states that of the estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers worldwide, “the vast majority are women and girls.” 7.5% of female employees worldwide work in the domestic sphere.

Many countries do not provide the protections to domestic workers that they afford those employed in other fields. For this reason, domestic workers face “a wide range of grave abuses and labor exploitation.” It is believed that in many countries these human rights violations are allowed to continue due to a lack of legal protections exacerbated by discrimination against women and girls.

“Discrimination against women and poor legal protections have allowed abuses against domestic workers to flourish in every corner of the world,” said Nisha Varia, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This new convention is a long overdue recognition of housekeepers, nannies, and caregivers as workers who deserve respect and equal treatment under the law.”

The new treaty demands that domestic workers have some of the basic labor rights that those who work in other spheres already enjoy. These rights include: “reasonable hours of work, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, a limit on in-kind payment, clear information on terms and conditions of employment, as well as respect for fundamental principles and rights at work including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.”

The treaty applies to all domestic workers, including migrant workers and child laborers who are especially vulnerable to labor rights abuses. Migrant workers, who compose a large proportion of those employed in the domestic sphere, “are often at heightened risk of exploitation due to national policies that link workers’ immigration status to individual employers as well as excessive recruitment fees, language barriers, and employers’ confiscation of passports.” The Convention on Domestic Workers demands that migrant workers receive a contract that is enforceable in the country in which they are employed and calls for national governments to strengthen international cooperation.

The Treaty also helps children, who make up nearly 30% of all domestic workers worldwide. Prior to the convention, many national governments excluded domestic work from child labor laws, meaning that some children worked long hours at young ages. The treaty sets a minimum age for domestic work and ensures that work does not interfere with the education of children above that age. 

The United States played a leading role in advocating for strong protections of domestic workers in the treaty and was one of the 396 out of 475 delegates who voted for the convention. However, it is unlikely that the U.S. will ratify the convention as labor laws are primarily regulated by states and this convention would require numerous federal regulations. This is unfortunate as currently New York is the only state which has enacted a domestic workers’ bill of rights.

But despite the fact that the convention is unlikely to change federal law in the U.S., the increased awareness that the treaty will bring could prove beneficial.

The importance of this convention is to bring the plight of domestic workers into the national spotlight, not necessarily changing U.S. laws, said Ana Avendano, the assistant to the president at the AFL-CIO, who also participated in the ILO conference. In many parts of the world, domestic workers are explicitly excluded from labor laws and standards, she said.

“What happens to many workers in most cases is already illegal,” Avendano said. “When these workers complain about their conditions, now people are going to listen”

The International Labor Organization’s Convention on Domestic Workers has the potential to give labor protections to millions of domestic workers around the world, the majority of which are women and girls. While the convention will not necessarily change U.S. law, it will likely increase awareness about the issue of labor exploitation and encourage people to respect and utilize existing laws which protect domestic workers. While the convention will not eradicate human rights violations of domestic workers, the international recognition of the need for domestic workers to be afforded the same rights as other workers is a step in the right direction. You can read more about the convention here.

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Filed under Employment, Uncategorized

AIDS Infection Risk for Women Lowered by Gel

Researchers found that after a woman has used a microbiocide gel containing 1% tenofovir 12 hours before sexual intercourse and up to 12 hours after sexual intercourse for a year, her risk of contracting HIV was half that of a woman who used a placebo gel. After two and half years of use,  the gel seems to become slightly less effective, with a woman who uses it being only 39% less likely than a woman using a placebo to contract HIV. However, the drop off in effectiveness is thought to be due to some women in the study “tending to use it inconsistently as time went on, not knowing whether it was in fact having any effect.”

The gel’s potential to decrease the rate of women who contract HIV could be a major breakthrough in slowing the spread of AIDS. Women are disproportionally affected by HIV/AIDS; 60% of new HIV/AIDS infections in Africa are among women. If the gel became widely available, women would have more control in avoiding contracting HIV/AIDS.

“Picture a young woman in a rural community in South Africa who walks through my clinic doors asking me what I have to protect her from getting infected,” said Dr Quarraisha Abdool Karim, one of the authors of the paper. “Her partner is a migrant worker and refuses to wear a condom and she is not sure of his faithfulness in this relationship. From being able to tell her for years that I have nothing, I can now offer her 1% tenofovir gel, which offers her 39% protection and, if she is highly attuned to this gel [uses it consistently], it offers her 54% protection.” 

Researchers found that the gel had very few side effects, “which is extremely important because it will be used by women who are healthy.” Additionally, in a previous study involving a gel that proved unsuccessful in lowering the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, women cited increased sexual pleasure as a positive effect of gel use. Wits professor Helen Rees, of the university’s reproductive health and HIV institute said that the majority of feedback from participants citing increased sexual pleasure with gel use came from women in menopause. If the gel continues to prove successful, the “sexual pleasure factor could be a potential marketing option.”

While preliminary research showing tenofovir gel to be successful in reducing the contraction of HIV/AIDS in women is exciting, there is still work to be done before it can become widely available. The results must be confirmed by the Follow-on African Consortium for Tenofovir Studies (Facts) study whose results are not expected to be released until 2013 and then the gel must go through a licensing process before it could be manufactured and marketed.

If further research confirms the success of the gel, then Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has committed WHO to use its resources to distribute the gel to women as quickly as possible. To find more detailed information on the preliminary study showing tenofovir gel to be effective, click here.

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Filed under HIV/AIDS, Sexuality, Women's health

NY Act Would Help Jailed Domestic Violence Survivors

The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) proposed by New York State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, if passed, would “allow [New York] courts to take DV into consideration when determining sentencing; authorize judges to sentence survivors to shorter prison terms and alternative-to-incarceration programs, and permit currently incarcerated survivors to apply for resentencing.” The bill is supported in the recommendations of a  report by the Avon Global Center which examined the “barriers to justice faced by women survivor-defendants in New York State.”

The Report revealed

an estimated nine out of ten women in New York prisons are survivors of physical and sexual abuse.  Many of these women are survivors of domestic abuse, and the crimes for which they have been sentenced are often directly related to their abuse.   In many cases, the police failed to investigate and enforce laws against domestic abuse, the attorneys failed to raise the issue during the trial, and the judges failed to consider past victimization and institutional failures during the sentencing phase.  Often, these women receive and serve the maximum sentences in prison for their crimes, with no regard for their prior abuse or the failures of the justice system to first protect them as victims of criminal violence.

Among other recommendations, the Report proposes DVSJA as a step towards helping survivors of abuse obtain justice.  A major way the act will help domestic violence survivors is by allowing “judges discretion to cut a sentence for first-degree manslaughter, for example, from five to 25 years to one to five years, or to probation with alternative programs.” “Alternative programs” could include counseling programs which have been proven to reduce recidivism rates. Indeed, according to the Survivors of Abuse in Prison Fact Sheet the utilization of counseling programs would reduce the already very low recidivism rates for women who commit violent felonies (PDF). Of the women who were incarcerated for a violent felony offense in 1980, “only about 9% were convicted of another violent felony after their release.”

It is incredibly important that domestic violence survivors who committed violent crimes in order to defend themselves from their abusers see justice. According to the Survivors of Abuse in Prison Fact Sheet, a 1996 a government study found that 93% of women convicted of killing intimate partners had been abused by the partner. Another 1996 study showed that the majority of women jailed in the New York City prison system “reported engaging in illegal activity in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by their male partners.” In 2005, nearly 25% of women who were incarcerated for homicide in New York prisons reported abuse by the victim of their crime.

If passed, DVSJA would be the first law of its kind in the nation. Under the act, survivors of abuse could have their circumstances taken into consideration when being sentenced for crimes often committed only in an effort to protect themselves from their abuser. To learn more about the barriers to justice faced by jailed survivors of abuse, watch the short documentary by The Women in Prison Project.

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Filed under Domestic violence, Women in prisons

What We’re Reading: Marriage Equality

WLP staffers have noticed many recent news stories covering the fight for marriage equality in the US and around the globe. Due to the volume of news on this topic, it is impossible for us to write a blog post on all newsworthy stories. Instead, a compilation of links to the stories that have piqued our interest this week can be found below.

Have we missed something? Please share more news related to the fight for marriage equality in comments.

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Filed under Equality, LGBT, What We're Reading

Cyberstalking: A Growing Problem

We have written before about cyberstalking, the disturbing use of technology by stalkers. WeNews reports that “stories like these [involving cyberstalking] are becoming more common.” While cyberstalking affects both women and men, women are disproportionately targets. According to a National Violence Against Women Survey, 80% of targets of stalking of any kind are women and 60% of cyberstalking targets are women.

Cyberstalking can involve perceived threats, harassment, and worse. Karen Baker, director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, defined cyberstalking to WeNews as “threatening behavior or unwanted advances that use computer communications.” Baker stated that 1 in 4 adults has been the target of a cyberstalker.

The utilization of technology allows stalkers to harass their target from oceans away. A teenage boy in Western Australia sent a girl in Wisconsin various “gifts,” including a Domino’s pizza. Worried, the girl blocked the boy on Facebook. After realizing that he had been blocked from the girl’s Facebook, the boy began to threaten her via e-mail and text. One text read, “If you thought ultimate love was bad, wait till you see ultimate hate. I’ll ruin your life. I know exactly where you live.”

Luckily, authorities were able to find the boy from his internet protocol (IP) address which he used when ordering the pizza online. The boy was arrested and “may face stalking, fraud and harassment charges, according to a police report.”

Some targets are not as lucky as the Wisconsin girl was. WeNews relates cases of cyberstalking that resulted in more violent consequences.

In Ohio, a high school student committed suicide after her ex-boyfriend sent nude photos of her to her classmates via text message from his cell phone.

In Florida, a female teen stabbed and killed a romantic rival after exchanging months of threats on the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.

In Wyoming, a woman was raped by a stranger when her ex-boyfriend posted an ad on Craiglist.com calling for a man to go to her house, pretend to attack her and act out a “rape fantasy.”

Legislators have taken notice of the growing instances of cyberstalking. The Rhode Island House passed a bill which would make cyberstalking by a relative or household member a crime listed under domestic violence offenses. While cyberstalking is already a crime in Rhode Island, making it a domestic violence offense would “automatically prohibit offenders from contacting victims, prompt tougher criminal penalties for repeat convictions and provide victims with advocacy services.” Congress is considering a bill that would extend the federal definition of stalking to cyberstalking.

To find out what cyberstalking laws your state has, click here.

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Filed under Domestic violence, Government, Stalking

What We’re Reading: Title IX

Title IX, a law which requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding passed 39 years ago. However its promise has not been completely  fulfilled, even four decades later.  Here are some of the stories we have been reading recently which got us thinking about how far we have come in achieving equality in education and how far we still have to go.

  • Parents of competitive cheerleaders at Lugoff-Elgin High School in Camden, South Carolina, are requesting a formal investigation of Title IX compliance after they say school administrators refused to pay for new uniforms.
  • Some universities (including Duke, Wake Forest, and Appalachian State) listed men who assist in practices of women’s teams as members of the teams in a federal study. It is probably not the case that any of these schools did this to better fulfill Title IX requirements since, according to the article, “counting the men as part of the women’s team didn’t significantly change any of the three schools’ Title IX numbers.” However, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a law professor at Florida Coastal and the senior director of advocacy at the Women’s Sports Foundation says that another school may use this loophole to give “‘the appearance of an untrained eye that the school would not have to add another women’s team (to be in compliance) with Title IX.’”
  • Kristine Newhall addresses critiques of Title IX which argue that it creates reverse discrimination: “It seems difficult to argue that Title IX is creating reverse discrimination when men have always had and continue to have more opportunities.”
  • The University of Montana, “in danger of falling out of compliance with Title IX,” started a softball program.
  • Sue Estler, an Associate Professor Emirita of higher education at the University of Maine who served 11 years as the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title Coordinator reflects  on the history of Title IX and the continuing struggle to ensure that schools are in compliance with it.
  • A federal appeals court will hear a case alleging that Indiana schools discriminated against girls’ basketball teams by scheduling girls’ games for weeknights and boys’ games for Friday and Saturday nights.

To find out about the Women’s Law Project’s Title IX-related advocacy, click here. Image via.

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Filed under Education, Equality, Sports, Title IX, What We're Reading

Widespread Support for Employment Non-discrimination Ordinances

We recently wrote about the LGBT non-discrimination bills that were introduced in Pennsylvania but a new poll shows support on a national level. A recent nationwide poll by the Center for American Progress captures the widespread support of employment non-discrimination for LGBT individuals:

Nearly three-fourths of voters (73 percent) support protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination…Even among voters who identify themselves as feeling generally unfavorable toward gay people, a full 50 percent support workplace nondiscrimination protections for the gay and transgender population.

The support shown in this poll makes it all the more necessary to get a non-discrimination bill, like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, passed. If that happens, Pennsylvanians who live outside of the 19 municipalities that have already passed non-discrimination ordinances would finally be protected, as would anyone living in the 29 other states that do not have statewide protection. Having equal protection under federal law is the right thing to do-and most people think it already exists:

The survey also found that 9 of out 10 voters erroneously think that a federal law is already in place protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination.

When 90% of those surveyed believe that LGBT inclusive employment non-discrimination protections already exist, it is ridiculous for these bills not to pass. Employment discrimination does not occur in isolated incidents; rather nearly half of transgender people also report experiencing an adverse job outcome because of their gender identity. It is unacceptable for people in the United States to be fired, passed over for a job or denied a promotion because they are LGBT.

Contact your U.S. senator and representative and let them know how important it is that all Americans are protected from employment discrimination regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Filed under Employment, Equality, Government, LGBT, Sexual orientation

Women in Academia

Bestcollegesonline.com recently published a list of “15 Incredibly Inspiring Women in Academia.” The list includes such notable women as Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, and Judith Butler. Included in the list are brief biographical notes about the women’s respective accomplishments and the hurdles each had to overcome to achieve success in academia. Hopefully we have moved past the days when talented female mathematicians like Sophie Germain had to take on the identity of a male university student in order to gain a higher education. However, women have yet to earn equality in academia.

A 2011 study (PDF) published by Catalyst, “the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business” reveals some upsetting gender inequalities in academia. During the time in which the study took place, “women had fewer and lower percentages of tenure positions than men at doctoral, masters, and bachelor’s institutions. Women [also] occupied more non-tenure track positions than tenure track positions, and men overwhelmingly comprised  the majority of tenured faculty.” Indeed, the study found that only 24% of full professors were women.

The lack of women in academia seems inconsistent with the number of women in higher education. Indeed, “women continue to earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees, and are projected to earn in the majority of master’s [degrees].”Though the number of women faculty members doubled (PDF) from 1984 to 2008 and a lower percentage of men start out on the tenure track than women, Danielle L. Auriemma and Tovah P. Klein of Barnard College  found that “a much higher percentage of [men], compared to women, hold tenure, and far fewer [men] are on the non-tenure-track.”

An explanation for the lack of women in various career fields that “has been pushed by media” is that women “freely choose not to work after becoming mothers.” However, Auriemma and Klein show that statistics do not prove this claim to be true. Indeed, “the majority of educated women with young children [are] in the work force. In 2007, over 70% of women with children worked outside the home (Halpern, 2008). Statistics are similar for highly educated women in their thirties where 2/3 of those with a young child work outside the home (Boushey, 2005).”

Though the question of where the women in academia go and why does not have a definitive answer, many have pointed to an insufficient support system for mothers in academia as one culprit.  Female faculty members reported having to turn down speaking engagements and generally traveling less for work in order to accommodate their children. Female faculty members also reported having less time to have “uninterrupted, concentrated time- to think, to create new ideas,” necessary for an academic.

Male faculty members do not share the burdens of parenthood evenly with their female counterparts. An opinion piece by Sara Ballard and Gurtina Besla for The Harvard Crimson shows that this trend starts when future professors are in graduate school.

A 2008 GSAS study of graduate student parents found that graduate student mothers bore the primary responsibilities for childcare in the months after the birth of a child: more than half (55 percent) of the spouses of Harvard graduate mothers stayed home for four weeks or less, while only two percent of the spouses of Harvard graduate fathers stayed home for four weeks or less. The burden of childcare is undeniably borne more heavily by the women graduate students. This statistic is reflected in the findings of the UCBerkeleystudy that determined that tenured women professors in science are three times more likely to be single without children than their male counterparts (25 percent versus nine percent).

In order to retain talented female scholars in academia in light of the disproportionate demands of parenthood on women, the American Federation of Teachers’  Higher Education Department suggested (PDF) that faculty unions make gender diversity a bigger priority. Auriemma and Klein also suggest more

Institutional attention to providing, publicizing, and encouraging the use of policies that help faculty deal with professional and personal responsibilities [which] will both enhance the quality of the environment, making it more attractive to academic women, and help individual scholars fulfill professional and personal duties.

Auriemma and Klein also suggest a re-envisioning of the tenure-track model. They ask “what would it mean to envision a career over a longer time span, not over a 7 year span? Rather than a linear progression, peaks and valleys over time would be expected. What does it mean to invest up front and allow a woman to become a mother, then to see her productivity soar at a later time?”

To make sure young mothers may pursue a professorship, Ballard and Besla recommend childcare assistance programs be made available for graduate students as well as faculty.

Women, now the majority of bachelor’s degree earners, are still underrepresented in academia, particularly in tenured positions. In the effort to figure out the reasons for this disparity and to make the playing field of academia an even one for both genders we may look to the 15 incredible women that bestcollegesonline.com provides for us as inspiration.  These women are testaments to how important it is to make sure the next great mathematician or Poet Laureate has her talent realized.

(Photo from hvaldez1)

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Filed under Education, Equal pay, Equality

Georgia Anti-Sex Trafficking Law a Step in the Right Direction

On July 1, a Georgia bill mandating more compassionate treatment of victims of sex trafficking and harsher punishments for perpetrators will officially become law.  The law will increase the penalty for sex trafficking to up to 20 years in prison for those trafficking adults and up to 50 years for those trafficking minors. The law will make it so survivors of sex trafficking who are engaged in a legal proceeding will be treated “as victims, not criminals, by offering them recovery under the state crime victims fund and an affirmative defense when coming forward.”

The new law aims to help protect adult as well as child survivors of sex trafficking but focuses on survivors who are minors, dictating “a 25-year minimum prison sentence for coercing sex from anyone under 18.”

The law hopefully represents a growing recognition of the need to end domestic sex trafficking, an issue that has not received a lot of support in the past compared to sex trafficking in other parts of the world.

There’s support for “girls in India or Thailand, girls from fractured families, who have endured abuse, who are very vulnerable, who have been lured or kidnapped into being trafficked for sex,” says [the founder of Rebecca Project for Human Rights Malika Saada] Saar. “But girls from those same situations from American circumstances are not recognized as victims; they are cast down as bad girls making bad decisions.”

Unfortunately, the problem of sex trafficking minors in the United States is a growing one. This is possibly due to an increasing market demand “fueled in part by the larger society’s hypersexualization of young girls. ‘The commercial sex industry has ceased to be an industry of adults,’ says Saar. ‘It’s about buying girls. You talk to any pimp. He wants young girls; young girls make more money for him. Demand that exists is for very young girls.’”

The law received praise from anti- sex trafficking advocates such as Renee Kempton, the Atlanta ambassador for Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCTN).  She says she “like[s] a lot about the bill,” especially

the fact that the victims can claim an affirmative defense when they come forward…A lot of girls are scared to come forward and this creates a safe haven for them to do so. This also helps deter the Johns and pimps because they all thrive on fear. They get her to think she has no one but him. The way this law is written, it provides a safe place for girls to share information with authorities because they are usually controlled by fear.

Kempton said “the Governor’s Officer of Children and Families issued a report which estimated that 490 adolescent girls get trafficked in the state of Georgia per month, “ and though the exact number is unknown, the U.S. government estimates “thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked to the United States for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation.” Given the upsetting number of victims of sex trafficking in the U.S., Georgia’s new law may be considered a small step in the right direction. To find out about Pennsylvania legislation to help end sex trafficking in our state and to find out how you can take action, click here. To learn about a proposed bill that would to help eradicate sex-trafficking in Pittsburgh specifically, click here.

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Filed under Girls, Government, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rape, Women's health