Baby Market Uncovered In Lagos, Nigeria

Josfyn Uba and Jossy Idam

Welcome to Janet Fajemigbesin Street, the hideout of teenage mothers who sell their babies while in the womb for pittance. The street is located at Amuwo Odofin-directly behind old Durbar Hotel-near Festac, Lagos. The girls are usally contracted by women and their husbands who are unable to have babies of their own.

Dirty deals
On entering the small shanty town, the girls besige you and tell you to take a good look at them and tell you to decide who among them you think will give you a pretty baby. A prospective baby buyer would time and access who among them could make the baby of his heart’s desire.

Winnowing through the bevy of girls is not usually easy. The experience can easily be compared with going to okrika market. Besides their looks, sizes and shapes, they have two things in common-youthful age and charge.
Looking at them, their age range could be between 14 and 20. They probably held a meeting in secret and decided to charge between N150,000 ($1220) and N200,000 ($1545) per baby.
The prospective buyer is expected to also bear the cost of antenatal and other hospital bills that may arise in future. During the lucky girl’s gestation period, the buyer is also expected to provide provision and good food for the developing baby and mother.

Boys for hire
The boys who act as studs must also be taken care of. Prancing around like bantam cocks, the boys who are mostly dressed in dirty jeans and sneakers swam around a prospective buyer and ask to be commissioned to act as a surrogate father of the baby yet to be formed. The deal is usually struck with the boys with a token sum ranging from N10,000 to N20,000 thoudand and a good round of drinks (paraga i.e local gin mixed with roots). When and how the boy and girl will meet is not the buyers business.

The “Axis of Evil” as the spot is known in the neighbourhood used to be bee hive of activties until the officials of Lagos State Ministry of Environment demolished it following incessant complain by the members of the landlord’s association of the area. Undeterred, the boys and girls still gathered there daily and hostle for a living the way they know best. With only the open sky as their shelter now, they openly smoke marijuana, drink and ramble on the street. Their unruly, rebellious lifestyle is the reason officials of Lagos State government gave in demolishing the place.

Bad name
A resident of the area who wants anonimity told Saturday Sun that the government officials have only killed the snake without cutting off its head.
This bad people are still here and until they go we are’ not safe”, thesoruce said.
A dependable source in the state government secretarait, Alausa says the next agenda of the state is “to arrest and prosecute the miscrants who hang around there and give the place a bad name”.
After down payment-the girls prefer the payment to be done in cash and at once- a prosective buyer has to keep an eye on his “investment” . Regular visit ensures trust and even bound between the buyer and his unborn baby. Once the baby is born, the buyer could take the baby away while the “mother” prepares for another deal.
Some of them boast of making a baby every year.

Bizzare welcome
As this reporter walked down the street of Janet Fajemigbesin, the enclave of notoriety, there was a crowd of girls (both matured, teenegers and advanced) a convergence of women of all shades sizes and colour. While some were pregnant, others clutched babies to their bossoms.
Boys too, unkempt and tattered looking with some kind of short dread locked hairs were also there. While some paced up and down, others just laid down in the remnants of the burnt place, and some others just stood aloof.

As the reporters got closer, about four teenage girls, (one was pregnant) approached me with desperation and bombarded me with some bizzare questions like “Madam, what type of baby do you want to buy? How do you want it? Do you want a boy or girl or twins?
Apparently, they had thought I was a prospective customer in their baby selling racket
“Anyhow you want it, we can arrange for it” said one of them, a tiny 15 year old form Edo State.
I agreed to have a meeting else where away from the vicinity where I could discuss in confidence the technicalities of “my business”.
We then took off to the opposite side of the new bridge where such trade also goes on.

Baby boom
Having gained a prospective customer’s confidence and seeing her desperation for the search of a baby, “We are ready to play ball” the pregnant teenager told me. And in their tradition, Saturday Sun gathered that the girls could now drink and smoke literally celebrating success in their venture.
Very relaxed and quite confident in the company of the reporters, they quickly organised a saucer filled with cannabis wraps and ciggirettes.

It was time to discuss real business. Interestingly, these four girls were between the ages of 15-24. Saturday Sun’s investigation revealed their modus’ operadi starts with visits by wealthy women around the Festac environs. These rich women in desperate need of children thus become patronising clients.
According to a reliable source, high profile women in all sorts of exotic cars are regular visitors to these girls of easy virtue. In most cases, a line up of flashy cars are packed especially in the evenings.
It was gathered that the business negotiations starts from 5-30pm till dawn.

To walk away with a healthy child depends on individuals arrangement and financial power.
The girls told Saturday Sun that at Agbo Malu, there are two specific methods by which you can become a proud recipient of a bouncing baby. You at liberty to choose which suits you.
Your level of desperation and need often determines your choice. However, the methods are; first, a girl of your desire is pregnanted, you bear the responsibility of taking care of her during her entire period of pregnancy.
You are responsible for her pre-natal expenses while she still resides in her house at Agbo Malu, you take care of her feeding, while paying her regular visit bringing all her needs especailly provisions. At birth, you also bear the responsibility after which, the teenage mother relinquishes her baby to you on leaving the hospital.

She is paid off. While you smile home with “your baby”, she walks back to her Agbo Malu enclave praying and waiting for another business opportunity.
The second option, Saturday Sun gathered is that whereby a prospective buyer walks up to a girl who readily has “a baby for flunging”. In this case, “the buyer” bears no extra-financial responsibility other than just paying for the normal cost of purchase.

However, for the cost of purchase, Saturday Sun investigations revealed that a baby girl goes for N150,000 while the price tag for a male child is pegged at N200,000. For twins, you cannot pay anything less than N450,000 although you might be lucky to get some discount but the prices remain unchanged for single births.
Your business authomatically ends on the exact spot and time where you receive your baby.

Three times a mother
For some girls, Saturday Sun gather that mother luck seemed to have signed a pact with them and so smiles on them with business fortunes on a regualr basis. A particular girl confided to Saturday Sun the fact that she had given birth three times and the three times, she had sold them out.
She said that she had come from Benin about seven years ago, settled with her friend for the regular red light business.
For the teenage Bini girl, “The kind of money I wanted could not easily be got from that place. What I got was mostly short time of about N500 each session. So I figured that wasn’t the best place to make money.

More so business was small” she said.
She told Saturday Sun that she left her Bini home on a mission. Her elder sister in Belgium had failed to take her over to her base. Twice she had tried, but was dissappointed and she knew that Lagos was another hot spot that provided her with enormous opportunity to make it in life.
“So my friend brought me to Agbo Malu and since then, life has been good.”
She said she also told us that she had supplied babies twice in the last three years, now she is heavy with the third one.

Business as usual
Though she had struck business as usual with “my madam” but for the recent demolition of the place. Worried whether on her madam can trace her given the current development, she revealed with a sense of confidence that “I have her GSM number and so I will tell her what happened”. Their greatest worry before she can contact her madam was the cut-off of her regular provisions.

Adducing reasons why she took to this business, another of the girls, a Ghanian said it was due to the sharp economic downturn of the country and the fact that “to get husband to marry no easy, so how I go do. I no go chop? Naim make me come dey do this business and e good well, well. And I know say, here no worse pass Maroko that time” she lamented.
Even after the demolition of the place, the male residents are still hanging around. Incidentally, the palce was not only occupied by these girls but even stranded families who have no where to lay their heads and single guys.

As at the time of our visit, boys were seen lying on the ruins of the place.
Saturday Sun was told that these guys are not engaged in any form of employment rather they lazy about all day and only to take off at nights for nothing in particular.
Looking hagard, unkempt with dirty, dreadlocks, big necklaces and studs, Saturday Sun was hinted by concerned residents of the hgih crime rate in the neighbourhood which maynot be unconnected with the idle hands lying about the enitre area.

Living in fear
However, the residents also spoke of their uneasiness, discomfort and palpable fear at the inssessant and indiscriminate smoking of carnabis by the hoodlums who not only have become societal nuisance in the whole of the Janet Fajemigbesin neighbourhood but have also become threats to the entire area.
Speaking to Saturday Sun, some of the boys said “this place is not worse than the old Maroko and now that it is destroyed, we have no where to go to”.

Earlier on, while speaking to Saturday Sun, some residents of Agbo Malu had alleged that the demolition of the place had been facilitated by the Assemblies of God’s Church situated directly opposite them.
When cantacted, Bro. David Obok, Head of Administration, of the church however denied the allegation. Confirming that the people actually had constituted nuisance in the neighbourhood through their indiscriminate smoking and indecent manner of dressing of the girls.

Bro Obok said that the major problem they also had against them was the issue of defeaction.
According to him, the residents of Agbo Malu had been in the habit of defeacating and throwing it into their compound of which the church authorities severally warned them all to no avail. This, he said they reported to the Amuwo Odofin council authorities.

The incident, the church adminsitrator said repeated itself again, inspite of the fact that the local council had put up a sign post with an option of fine on any defaulter.
He said though the notice had helped to checkmate the situation but it never stopped completely.
Bro Obok however said that the likely reason for the eventual demolition of which they had prior notice of the demolition, was that the management of Durbar Hotel had proposed to construct a link road which would run across the length of Agbo Malu.

He noted that the people had severally underestimated the consequences of the council’s numerous warnings but hoping that the demolition will come after the April polls.
Saturday Sun’s investigation revealed that the entire residents were feeling unsafe and unease at the unruly behaviour of the Agbo Malu boys and girls.
We also gathered on good authority that the boys who lay about all day only go out at night to perpetuate evils from armed robbery to raping.

Tragedy divides relatives of slain family


Their families were united by marriage but are now divided by death.

Three days after state troopers found the bodies of Steven, Kathy and Linda Lessard in their Lake Peekskill home, relatives on both sides were trying yesterday to make sense of Steven Lessard's murder-suicide.

Kathy Lessard's older brother, a retired police officer, traveled from Baltimore with his wife and son to confront a crime scene familiar in its horror but made strange by the personal connection.

The tableau, he said, left him wondering "what was wrong that this happened?"

Steven Lessard's mother, meanwhile, was in her Florida home more than 1,100 miles away, attempting to reconcile the loving "all-American boy" she raised with the family annihilator he became - and hoping her son wouldn't be remembered as a monster.

The unexpected violence also divided the Lessard family itself.

Although Steven Lessard bought burial plots at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Putnam Valley, his family will not be buried together.

Instead, Kathy Lessard's siblings are planning to return her to her hometown of Baltimore, where the mother and her 14-year-old daughter are set to be buried near Kathy Lessard's parents after a funeral Mass on Tuesday.

Steven Lessard, however, will get no ceremony. His cremated remains will eventually be interred in a family plot in his hometown of Evanston, Ill., his mother said.

Closing Arguments in Child Death Trial

Sharing the blame with others isn't enough to save a woman from being convicted of murder in the death of her 3-year-old foster son, who was bound in a blanket and packing tape and left in a closet, prosecutors told jurors Wednesday.

All it would take to convict Liz Carroll would be determining that she committed a felony that resulted in the death of Marcus Fiesel, prosecutors said in closing arguments.

Guilt could be measured by "not only what she did, but what she failed to do," Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Piepmeir said.

He discounted the defense contention that Carroll was intimidated into going along with her bully husband, David Carroll Jr., 29, and their live-in companion, Amy Baker.

"Even though she tried to share the blame with David and Amy Baker, what she admitted was sufficient to find her guilty of these crimes," Piepmeir said.

Carroll, 30, also is charged with involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, felonious assault and three counts of child endangerment.

Marcus, who was developmentally disabled, died in August at the family's home in Batavia, east of Cincinnati, while Carroll was gone overnight at a family reunion in Kentucky.

Defense attorney Gregory Cohen said Carroll was a "beaten-down woman trying to save her family and protect David."

She was terrorized by her husband's violent tendencies and by Baker's sexual conquest of her husband, he said in his closing.

"Two people had responsibility to protect Marcus Fiesel," Cohen said. "David Carroll has a court date just down the hall."

David Carroll also is charged with murder and is to be tried separately next month.

Baker has not been charged, but testified Monday that she accompanied David Carroll when he allegedly burned the body and dumped the remains in the Ohio River. Prosecutors agreed not to prosecute Baker in exchange for her testimony, unless any evidence shows she had hands-on involvement in the boy's death.

Father's Horror In Child Sex Scandal

A father has spoken for the first time of the horror of having his three daughters and two foster children removed when they were wrongly diagnosed as sex abuse victims.

It is the 20th anniversary of what became known as the Cleveland Child Sex Abuse Scandal - but many of those innocently accused still live with the pain of having their families torn apart.

In the summer of 1987, the nation was gripped by stories of an apparent epidemic of child sex abuse that resulted in 121 children being taken into care on the basis of controversial detection techniques.

Matthew Allen, a foster parent in Middlesbrough - whose real identity has been changed - last night spoke for the first time of the night his life changed for ever.

Two of his foster children were diagnosed as being the victims of sex abuse by paediatrician Dr Marietta Higgs, who also accused many other innocent parents of abusing their children.

She then asked to examine his three daughters, aged nine, seven and one-and-a-half.

He said: "We went along and the children were examined by Dr Higgs, and after which she appeared and delivered the bombshell that they showed signs of being sexually abused, and that they were being kept and would we please go.

"It was almost as if one had been hit on the jaw by a prize-fighter.

"I felt shocked, my stomach began to turn because it was almost as if I was in a dream. I was waiting any moment to wake up, but I didn't wake up because it wasn't a dream - it was reality.

"The children went into a room for an examination, the door was shut and that was the end of it. We were not allowed to say goodbye to them and we were then given a cup of tea.

"Then when we started to ask questions, we were told we were either to go peacefully or security would be called and we would be physically removed."

It would be a further seven months before he was reunited with all his children.

Speaking on Radio 4 last night, he said that, two decades on, his family were still coming to terms with the false diagnosis and the hurt caused by malicious accusations in the community, which continued after the children were returned.

In the years leading up to 1987, the number of child sex abuse allegations in Cleveland was no greater than other parts of the UK. But in January 1987, the number escalated rapidly, peaking in May, June, and July.

Also at the centre of the scandal was Dr Geoffrey Wyatt who, along with Dr Higgs, referred the cases to the social services department of the now defunct Cleveland County Council.

Matthew Allen's story is familiar to countless other families.

Social services used place-of-safety orders to remove children from their home on the say-so of a paediatrician. For some, it caused irreparable damage to relationships.

Children diagnosed as sexually abused were placed on wards nine and ten of Middlesbrough General Hospital.

But parents started to fight back, and a pressure group was formed with the help of a local vicar and Middlesbrough MP Stuart Bell.

Mr Bell said: "The reaction within the families was very devastating. One woman was told that her child had been abused and, of course, the implication was that the husband had done it and that split the family immediately."

Dr Higgs and Dr Wyatt were barred from further child protection work, and Sue Richardson, child abuse consultant for Cleveland council's social services department, was dismissed.

Sex Offender On The Run

Police are urging the public to visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre's 'Most Wanted' website in order to help trace a sex offender.

John Richard Murrell, 38, is being sought by West Mercia Police for failing to comply with notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act.

Murrell was last seen in the Worcestershire area, but is known to have links with Belfast, Aberystwyth and Blackpool. His photograph and details can now be seen on the CEOP centre's website at:

Jim Gamble, CEOP Centre CEO, said: "Thanks to Most Wanted, offenders who fail to comply with notification requirements are finding it harder to hide from authorities. We believe that by attempting to evade management, these offenders lose their right to anonymity. We will therefore maximise every available opportunity to locate them, including posting their details on the Most Wanted website.

"We're asking members of the public to visit the site today and take a look at Murrell's profile. If they have information regarding his whereabouts, we'd encourage them to come forward. They can pass details directly to West Mercia Constabulary, or they can give information anonymously through Crimestoppers on: 0800 555 111.

"Public support has already proved invaluable to the Most Wanted initiative. With their help we have already located four missing offenders. By working together we can continue to track those offenders who try to avoid being managed by the authorities and protect our communities to harm."

The CEOP Centre is also continuing to appeal for information about three other outstanding offenders, also wanted for failing to comply with notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act.

Colin Taylor was last seen in the Northumbria area, although it has been suggested that he may have travelled abroad and may be somewhere in Europe. He has made visits to the Indian subcontinent and the Far East in the past.

Peter Weatherley is missing from the South Yorkshire area, but is known to have links in the north of England. It has also been suggested that he could be in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.

Joshua Kearney, who is also missing, has connection in the Lancashire area, but is known to travel throughout the UK.

Further information and photographs can be found at:

The CEOP Centre joined forces with Crimestoppers last November to launched the Most Wanted site, the UK's first national website dedicated to locating child sex offenders who have failed to comply with notification requirements.

This is an arrestable offence, with a punishment of up to five years imprisonment.

Meeting Children’s Basic Needs Vis-a-Vis Their Well-being

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre released the Report Card 7 which focuses on the well-being of children and young people in the world’s advanced economies and provides the first comprehensive assessment.

The six dimensions taken to measure the well- being of children – material well-being, health and safety, education, peer and family relationships, behaviours and risks, and young people’s own subjective sense of well-being – offer a picture of the lives of children, and no single dimension can stand as a reliable proxy for child well-being as a whole.

The landmark report shows that among all of the 21 OECD countries there are improvements to be made and that no single OECD country leads in all six of the areas.

“All countries have weaknesses to be addressed” says Innocenti Director Marta Santos Pais, “No single dimension of well-being stands as a reliable proxy for child well-being as a whole and several OECD countries find themselves with widely differing rankings for different dimensions of children’s lives.”

According to the Report Card small North-European countries dominate the top half of the table, with child well-being at its highest in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. There is no strong or consistent relationship between per capita GDP and child well-being. The Czech Republic, for example, achieves a higher overall rank for child well-being than several much wealthier European countries. Also no country features in the top third of the rankings for all six dimensions of child well-being.

Pointing out that the Convention on the Rights of the Child calls on all countries to invest in its children “to the maximum extent of available resources”, Ms. Santos Pais said that international comparison was a way of testing this commitment - “A country cannot be said to be doing the best it can for its children if other countries at a similar stage of economic development are doing much better – and that’s what the league tables are designed to show.”

First step

The Innocenti Report is intended as a first step towards regular and comprehensive monitoring of child well-being across the OECD. Its scope is limited by the availability of internationally comparable data (which means that key areas such as mental and emotional health and child neglect and abuse are omitted). Nonetheless UNICEF hopes that the Report will help to stimulate the collection or more comprehensive and more timely data.

Child wellbeing needs to be addressed by public policies across a broad spectrum of aspects. Given levels of child well-being are not inevitable and show what is possible to do to improve the lives of children.

“All families in OECD countries today are aware that childhood is being re-shaped by forces whose mainspring is not necessarily the best interests of the child. At the same time, a wide public in the OECD countries is becoming ever more aware that many of the corrosive social problems affecting the quality of life have their genesis in the changing ecology of childhood. Many therefore feel that it is time to attempt to re-gain a degree of understanding, control and direction over what is happening to our children in their most vital, vulnerable years. That process begins with measurement and monitoring. And it is as a contribution to that process that the Innocenti Research Centre has published this initial attempt at a multi-dimensional overview of child well-being in the countries of the OECD.” (Innocenti Report Card 7, page 39)

The Report Card series present ‘league tables’ on aspects of child wellbeing in the world’s most advanced economies (countries that are members of the OECD) seeking to identify areas where societies could do better in supporting every child to be and become all that s/he can be – over and above generally universal access for every child to basic services in education, health, nutrition, shelter.

جثة آنا نيكول سميث قد تُحنَّط حتى تحديد هوية والد طفلتها

أصدر قاضيان أميركيان، حكمين متناقضين في شأن النزاع على معرفة والد طفلة عارضة الأزياء الشهيرة ونجمة مجلة «بلاي بوي» الإباحية آنا نيكول سميث، إثر وفاتها المفاجئة قبل نحو أسبوع عن عمر 39 سنة.

وزعم عدد كبير من الرجال ان كلاً منهم والد طفلة سميث داني لين التي ترث ثروة كبيرة من المال، إذا قضت المحاكم التي ما زالت تنظر في دعاوى قضائية مرفوعة من سميث تطالب فيها بنصف ثروة زوجها البليونير الراحل وقطب صناعة النفط جيه هوارد مارشال، والتي تقدَّر بنحو 1.6 بليون دولار.

وأمر قاض في فلوريدا بالإبقاء على جثة سميث في مكتب الطبيب الشرعي، للتمكن من إجراء فحص للحمض النووي لتحديد والد طفلتها. لكن قاضياً في كاليفورنيا أفاد بأنه يمكن دفن سميث نظراً لوجود عيِّنات كافية، وفقاً لموقع «إي أون لاين» الالكتروني.

ونقل محام عن المصور الصحافي لاري بيركهيد، أحد الرجال الذين يزعمون أبوة طفلة سميث، قوله انه «اعتماداً على المختبر الذي نتعامل معه، فإن لدينا عينات من الحمض النووي كافية. ونحن نبلغ الطرفين أنه لا توجد لدينا مشكلة في الإفراج عن جثمان سميث». ويتولى حالياً المحامي هوارد كيه ستيرن الذي كانت سميث تعتبره زوجها، على رغم عدم زواجهما قانونياً، رعاية الطفلة الصغيرة.

ورفع بيركهيد، صديق النجمة الراحلة، دعوى قضائية لإثبات نسب الطفلة. وزعم زوج الممثلة زازا غابور الأمير فريدريك فون انه هو والد الطفلة، فيما نشرت صحيفة «نيويورك ديلي نيوز» ان الأب قد يكون أيضاً زوجها الراحل مارشال، إذ زعمت أختها غير الشقيقة ان سميث أخذت حيوانات منوية مجمدة من زوجها الراحل.

وأيد قاضي فلوريدا حكماً سابقاً لقاضي كاليفورنيا بضرورة حفظ الجثة لإجراء فحص للحمض النووي، مع إمكان تحنيطها لدفنها لاحقاً.

وأفادت صحيفة «ميامي هيرالد» بأنه بعدما قرر قاضي كاليفورنيا أنه لم تعد هناك حاجة الى الجثة، وانه يمكن دفنها، يتوقع أن تصدر محكمة فلوريدا قراراً قريباً لتحديد من سيتسلم الجثة.

وأدت المسألة إلى تنازع عائلة سميث وأصدقائها. فأمها التي كانت تعيش بعيداً عنها، تريد دفن سميث في مسقط رأسها في تكساس، فيما يريد ستيرن دفنها الى جوار ابنها الذي توفي قبل نحو 5 أشهر عن 20 سنة نتيجة تناوله جرعة زائدة من المخدرات.

Scrap Scavenger By Day, Hooker by night

Dabet Castada

Prostitution, known to be the world's oldest profession, is new to the people who once lived along the shores of the old Batangas Port in this city, some 111 kms. south of Manila.

Amanda (note her real name), 48, a mamasan (pimp) born and raised in Barangay Sta. Clara, a village just beside the old Port of Batangas (part of this village has been turned into the port's expansion area completed in 1999). Her parents were port vendors, she said, and life near the port then was strenuous yet profitable. "Before, if you were aggressive in thinking of things to sell, you would earn," she recalls.

As a teenager, Amanda helped her parents earn a living by selling pork barbecue after school. This was her family's source of income when she started to raise a family of her own. She said she used to earn at least P400 ($8.28 at today's exchange rate of $1=P48.305) a day then.

Following then President Corazon Aquino's Executive Order No. 431, a part of Barangay Sta. Clara was demolished on June 27, 1994 to give way to the expansion, modernization and privatization of the Batangas Port.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) opened two relocation centers: Barangay Balete (about seven kilometers from the Batangas Port) and Barangay Sico (about 15 kilometers from the Batangas Port). A study made by Dr. Emma Porio for the JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) in 2000, "Demolition and Resettlement of Sta. Clara Residents: Policy, Politics, and Personalities in the Batangas Port Development Project," revealed that Balete had an unemployment rate of 53 percent while Sico had 43 percent.

Amanda's family was one of 192 families relocated in Sico, a vast and hilly relocation center near a dump, overlooking the Batangas city jail. A trip to this area takes at least an hour from the port. There are no factories or commercial centers in the area. The row houses looked dilapidated and dim. It was deafeningly quiet when Bulatlat visited the area on Jan. 18.

Dark days

Resettling at Sico spelled doom for Amanda's family. With no jobs available, Amanda said, her family set up a small convenience store. In a year's time, their small business went bankrupt because of unpaid debts from neighbors and relatives.

With no other means of income, Amanda started trading girls for sex. "I went back to the pier and peddled prostitutes," she said.

She said she gets a cut of P50 ($1.035) from a girl who, in turn, gets P300 to P500 ($6.21 to $10.35) for every. With the port turned from an inter-island, domestic port to an international cargo port, they began to cater to foreign seamen.

At first, she said, the girls she handled came from the provinces of Samar, Cavite, Iloilo, Cebu and even Manila. But as poverty spread among the former port dwellers relocated in Balete and Sico, Amanda said girls from the relocation sites started working as prostitutes as well.

Family business

One of those lured into prostitution is Sandy (not her real name), Amanda's niece. A former barbecue and a 'boiled duck eggs,' vendor, Sandy, now 42, started 'going out' with her patrons barely a year after their community was demolished. "I was still young then and pretty," she kidded.

She said she only catered to foreign patrons, "Because it is not difficult to deal with them." Sandy said she earns $50 to $100 for every customer but would only get half of it because she had to give a cut to her mamasan, to the ship operator, and to Customs officials. "Prostitution is legal here. Even Customs officials benefit from it," she said.

On peak seasons such as Christmas and Holy Week, she would have three to four patrons a night. "While there is a customer, I go on and on. I am not doing this to enjoy."

Sandy has three children to feed, she said, and her husband has left them for good. She spends P500 ($10.35) every month for rent because she sold the rights to her lot at the relocation center.

"I would have wanted to work because I have a lot of skills aside from lying in bed, but there is no work here," she added.

Sandy said she has now turned into being a mamasan (pimp) to earn a living, a job she shares with her 68-year-old mother, Belinda (not her real name). "Of course, I am getting old so my customers are fewer now. But sometimes if there is an offer I still take it to earn more," she explains.

Days when there are no customers, Sandy said, her mother would scavenge scrap materials at the nearby dump and sell these to the nearest junkshop. The small earnings from junk could at least provide them a meal, Sandy said.

7 Lap Dance Moves That Make Men Melt

Rebecca Drury

Want to make your guy go gaga? It's not just about what you do in bed that counts. Sure, great sex technique will make you a star in his eyes, but knowing how to tease him will make you a legend. Don't believe us? In The Little Bit Naughty Book of Lap Dancing for Your Lover, real-life exotic dancer Rebecca Drury spills the seven secret — and really sexy! — steps that work on every guy, every time. You can thank us later.

The Grinding Circle
Stand about 60 centimeters (two feet) from your partner, with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and your toes turned out. With your hips, begin to draw a circle, keeping your back arched. Now slowly bend your knees and grind down as far as is comfortable, then up again, continually undulating your hips and dancing erotically. It's really important to keep your back arched and upright. If you lean forward, you risk impersonating a sumo wrestler!

The Turn
As I've said, lap dancing is about showing off all your assets, so remember to turn around occasionally. For the best effect, turn slowly — your lover should barely notice. When you practice, work out which direction is most natural for you to turn in. And don't be overly concerned with how you do it; just take small steps and aim to make the turn blend into and become part of your dance. Keep circling your hips, and remember your arm movements. As far as possible, try to keep your lover in your gaze as you turn.

The Slap and Tickle
Turn your back to your audience and, with straight legs, bend forward slightly, look back at him coquettishly and stroke or lightly slap your bottom. I guarantee this will make him smile. Alternatively, still with your back to him, gently sway from your ankles, opening your legs gradually. Slowly, bend over so that your bottom is brazenly pointing at your man. Bend one knee to the side and straighten the other out to the other side. Glide your hand up the straight leg and raise your head over the corresponding shoulder to look back at him. Slap your bottom hard. Repeat on the other side.

The Lap Dance Grind
Gracefully dance yourself into the triangle made by your lover's open legs, and stand with your back to him and your feet together. Make sure you're as close to the chair as possible. Now bend your knees, keeping your back straight, and gently put your hands on your partner's knees. Lower your bottom toward his lap so that you can just feel his crotch on your skin. Then, keeping your hands on his knees for support, grind down gently, moving your hips in a circular or forward-and-backward motion. Look over your shoulder at your man while you do this, if you can. This is a little tricky, though! Take extra care whenever you go near his groin. If you hurt him, he'll never trust you to dance for him again!

The Breast Stroke
Every woman has her own personal scent that collects between her breasts, no matter what size they are or what perfume she wears. It's a potent aphrodisiac. So this step is guaranteed to get your lover going! Move closely into the space between his knees. Standing with your legs straight, gently lean forward and place your hands on either side of the chair. Once you have a firm hold, push your breasts toward his face; his nose should be nestled in your cleavage. For added effect, try brushing from side to side and stroking the end of his nose with your bra or nipple. Keep moving in a provocative way throughout.

Knee Strokes
Facing your partner, stand between his legs, as close to the chair as you can. Place your knees in the space between his crotch and the edge of the chair. Gently put a slight pressure against his groin with your knees. Lean toward him and blow gently into his ear or on his face. You could even exchange a mouthful of wine with him or pour champagne from your nipples into his mouth. As a variation, try this: Stand up facing your lover, then catch one of his knees between your knees and gently rub up and down his thigh. This is a fabulous sensation. Ask him to do it to you sometime!

The Body Slide
Standing between your lover's thighs, lean forward and put your hands on the back of the chair for support. Put one knee on each of his thighs, then lift your torso, slide your knees into the space in front of his crotch (careful here!) and slide, slowly, all the way down his body until you're kneeling on the floor in front of him. To get up off the floor, use your lover's knees for support and stand up sexily — bring your bottom up first, then flick your hair in his face as you raise your upper body.

Sideshow of life and death

Jocelyn Noveck & Suzette Laboy

ANYONE who arrived from Mars and was astonished at the fuss over Anna Nicole Smith would do well to watch just one clip: her appearance at the 2004 American Music Awards.

Prancing on stage in a tight-fitting black gown that showcased her cleavage - which was, as all else about her, larger than life - she grabbed your attention. Her looks were outlandish, but there was beauty beneath the excess.

And then she spoke. "Like my body?" she asked, tracing her fingers over her breasts. Her slurred words spilled out dangerously. She was clearly very high on something, and you wondered if she would survive, literally.

It was hard to watch. And, of course, harder not to.

Scant hours after news emerged of her death yesterday at age 39, many people were hard pressed to describe what exactly Anna Nicole Smith was. Actress? Model? Reality star? Rich widow? "I don't know exactly what she did," said US talk show host Joy Behar, hearing the news over the telephone. And yet, trying to put her finger on why we watched this strange woman over the years, she came up with two things: dysfunction and beauty.

"No question, she was beautiful," said Behar, of the US ABC network's The View. "We know people like to watch dysfunction. But beauty gives you something extra to look at. Dysfunction and beauty: now that's something to watch."

How was she dysfunctional? Really, how wasn't she? Her strange life seemed to veer from one outsized struggle to another. She struggled famously with her weight and with her family. She sometimes even struggled to speak without slurring. She had a television show that could be so embarrassing you'd want to watch it with dark sunglasses on. Much more tragically, she lost her 20-year-old son. Five months ago she gave birth to a daughter. Two men claim to be the father.

In other words, she was a perfect pop-culture icon. By contrast, another famous creature of internet celebrity, the chic-er, more sophisticated and chillier Paris Hilton, has much less to fascinate us, grainy sex video notwithstanding. It's hard to feel sorry for her.

"With Anna Nicole, she was pathetic but at the same time you thought, 'Gosh, if I could just scoop you up and fix things, it would be okay,"' says Jerry Herron, a professor of American culture at Wayne State University in Michigan. "You wouldn't want to scoop up Paris Hilton.

"Anna Nicole was," Herron notes, "in both her actions and her physical being, such an over-exaggerated version of what we both lust for and loathe in our society. Bombshell blonde? Family feuds? Lots and lots of money? Weight troubles? Obscene self-revelations on TV? She had it all."

The compelling mix of beauty and vulnerability is just one quality that has led to comparisons with Marilyn Monroe, another sexy, tragic blonde to whom Smith liked to compare herself. The comparison is tempting, but the difference is monumental.

"Marilyn Monroe was an artist, a real performer, able to evoke in audiences a real empathy and a passion," says Richard Walter, a film professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. "There is no comparison."

And yet he sees one strong point in common: the simple beginnings, the climb from obscurity to fame.

"Smith came from humble origins and achieved celebrity and wealth, one way or another," Walter says. "And that is an American story."

For celebrity editor Janice Min of US Weekly, it's the element of perseverance that stands out in Smith's tale, which she sees as "almost this perverse Hollywood Horatio Alger story".

"She fought against so many obstacles - poverty. Teen pregnancy. A bad home life." And of course, ridicule. "But she persisted, where others would have shrunk away out of humiliation and shame." It might have made her look pathetic. But it also made it exceedingly hard to look away.

Smith was stricken while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida and was rushed to hospital. Local medical officials say the cause of death is under investigation and an autopsy will likely be done today.

Just five months ago, Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, died suddenly in the Bahamas in what was believed to be a drug-related death.

Police say a private nurse called paramedics after finding Smith unresponsive in her sixth-floor room at the hotel, which is on an Indian reservation.

Recently, she lost a reported 31kg and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement. On her reality show and other recent TV appearances, her speech was often slurred and she seemed out of it. Some critics said she seemed drugged-out.

One of Smith's lawyers, Ron Rale, said yesterday he had talked with her this week and she had flu symptoms and a fever and was still grieving for her son. He dismissed claims her death was related to drugs as "a bunch of nonsense".

"Poor Anna Nicole," he said. "She's been the underdog. She's been besieged ... and she's been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she's endured."

The Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at strip club before she submitted her photos to a search contest and made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992. She became Playboy's playmate of the year in 1993. She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, on billboards and in magazine ads.

In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, owner of Great Northern Oil Company, whom she met at a "gentlemen's club" in Houston. In 1992, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $US550 million ($705 million).

Marshall died in 1995, aged 90, setting off a feud with Smith's former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over his estate. A federal court in California awarded Smith $US474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the US Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.

The stepson died on June 20 at age 67. But the family said the court fight would continue.

Smith starred in her own reality TV series, The Anna Nicole Show, in 2002-04. Cameras followed her around as she sparred with her lawyer, hung out with her personal assistant and interior decorator, and cooed at her poodle, Sugar Pie. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in The Hudsucker Proxy in 1994.

Meanwhile, the paternity of Smith's now five-month-old daughter remains a matter of dispute. The birth certificate lists Dannielynn's father as attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith's most recent companion. Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead was waging a legal challenge, saying he was the father. An emergency hearing in the paternity case has been scheduled for today in Los Angeles.

The legal complications of Smith's estate could take years to unravel, an expert says. Christopher Cline, of the law firm Holland and Knight, is an estate planning specialist. He says he has never seen a case "with more moving parts".

Outstanding questions include not only the paternity of her daughter, but if she died with a will and how her death will affect the lawsuit pending against the Marshall estate. It also isn't clear where she legally lived when she died.

Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children. Her parents split up when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother, a deputy sheriff.

She dropped out of high school after being expelled for fighting, and worked as a waitress and then a cook.

She married 16-year-old fry cook Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.

Couple Gets 22 years in Jail for Torturing Disabled Daughter

Samuel Duncan, 26, was given 10-and-a-half-years and Kimberley Harte, 23, 11-and-a-half-years, after "revolting abuse" in which boiling liquid was poured over the child's hands, her hair was ripped out, she was repeatedly kicked in the groin and forced to sleep naked in a locked toilet.


Tags: Harte | services | ripped | revolting | repeatedly | poured | Naked | locked | KICKED | hands | GROIN | given | forced | daughter | COUPLE | Abuse | Westminster | Victoria | TORTURING | KIMBERLEY | Jail | gets | DUNCAN | DISABLED | Crime | Britain

Couple Gets 22 years in Jail for Torturing Disabled Daughter

Sarah Womack,
Social Affairs Correspondent

Appalling failures in Britain's child protection system were exposed today as a couple was sentenced to a total of 22 years for "scalping and kicking like a football" their four-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy.

The case had echoes of the Victoria Climbié tragedy, with a judge expressing "anxieties" about social services.

Samuel Duncan, 26, was given 10-and-a-half-years and Kimberley Harte, 23, 11-and-a-half-years, after "revolting abuse" in which boiling liquid was poured over the child's hands, her hair was ripped out, she was repeatedly kicked in the groin and forced to sleep naked in a locked toilet.

The attacks happened only weeks after the girl was returned from foster care to the couple by Westminster social services last year.

No social workers have been disciplined despite the fact the girl's family was visited or contacted 20 times, Westminster Council confirmed this evening. "The council's view is that no disciplinary action should be taken," said a spokesman.

Sentencing the couple, Judge Paul Worsley QC voiced concern about failings by social services, in particular the near fatal decision to return the child to her parents against the wishes of her foster carers.

He said the parents, who showed no remorse for what they had done, tortured a "loving and affectionate" child in a case made all the worse by the fact they knew they were "under the eye of social services and had every reason to show more, not less, affection to that little girl".

Her physical scars may heal in time, he said, "but I doubt the mental scars ever will". The case comes four years after the most extensive inquiry - costing £3.8m - into the failings of the child protection system in British history, prompted by Victoria Climbié's death at the hands of her great aunt and the woman's boyfriend.

Lord Laming, who chaired that inquiry, pledged that Victoria's suffering would mark an "enduring turning point in ensuring proper protection of children in this country".

In the case of Duncan and Harte, a court heard how social workers and doctors had accepted an explanation of how the four-year-old broke her arm weeks before she was finally admitted to hospital with her appalling injuries. By then she was in so much pain she had to be examined under anaesthetic.

When the child, who cannot be named, was taken in by foster carers they referred to her as a "sunny child" who was physically capable despite her disability. Following the abuse she was left physically incapable of walking.

Westminster Council, which prides itself on being a flagship council delivering efficient services, insisted the case was "not another Victoria Climbié case".

Julie Jones, chair of the Westminster Local Safeguarding Children Board, said this evening: "It is clear that those staff who saw this child and her family could not have foreseen the injuries she sustained.

"After the child was returned home there were at least 20 visits from health and social care professionals.

"The information sharing between agencies was very good as all parties were mindful that this was a very complicated situation."

But a "serious case review" by the authority's Local Safeguarding Children Board pointed out numerous, serious failings by professionals who were "too parent focused" and not sceptical enough of what they were being told by the parents.

"For example, during a two month period, there were five occasions when the child was said to be 'out with her father', when a professional made a home visit. Furthermore, only minimal contact was made with the father at this crucial time," it said.

Tragically, the foster carers were the only strong voices against the child returning to her parents. They spoke of "regular distress" exhibited by the child before and after contact sessions.

Professionals were "generally observing quite a different and more positive picture from within assessment or contact sessions, and it was these views that prevailed".

It emerged that there was a nine day period when parents persistently evaded contact despite repeated attempts by social services to get in touch, during which time the girl was being hideously treated. Asked why social services did not contact the police, Westminster Council said: "You can't get police involved on a suspicion."

The girl had been in care because of domestic violence between her parents. Her "agony" came to an end only when her horrified grandmother discovered what was going on and called the police.

The couple of Maida Vale, west London, first admitted three counts of child cruelty on the basis they failed to seek medical treatment for their daughter. Then, following a cut-throat defence during which they blamed each other, they were convicted of three charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent between February 1 and March 18 this year.

The case is the latest in a string of cases that have caused questions to be asked about social services' decisions.

In 2005, Ukleigha Batten-Froggatt, a six-year-old who was on the 'at risk' register, was strangled by her mother's boyfriend in their flat in north London. In 2003 Toni-Ann Byfield was shot in north-west London while in the care of Birmingham social services.

Referring to today's case, police said they had never seen such shocking injuries. "These were horrific injuries," said Detective Sergeant Tony Smith from the child protection unit, "some of the worst injuries I have seen."

Her ordeal had caused her to regress with regards to her disability, but, according to Detective Sergeant Smith, she is now doing far better.

"When I met the young girl she was in a terrible condition. But I'm now happy to report that she's improved dramatically with the care that she's now receiving."

Mor Dioum, director of the Victoria Climbié Foundation, said workers should have been alarmed when they were told the girl was not at home during visits, adding: "It is well known that abusers tend to hide their victims from the public."

But Ron Lock, author of the independent case review, said: "It is quite contrary to the Victoria Climbié case in that risks were clearly identified and believed to have been addressed to a level that it was safe to return the children to the care of their parents.

"Victoria Climbié had many injuries that professionals failed to identify and investigate properly, which left her in a situation that led to her tragic death.

"Fortunately this child is alive and well. The extent of physical abuse that occurred was not something that was predictable or that the professionals had evidence of. However one incident of a fractured arm was wrongly accepted as being the result of an accident."

Defence counsel Philippa Page, for Duncan, said her client was still denying attacking his daughter. Nevertheless, the once would-be footballer, who was deserted by his father as a child, was someone who could learn from his mistakes and one day feel remorse.

Harte's barrister, Jennifer Edwards, said the mother - who had also had an "appalling" upbringing - would "never stop blaming herself, feeling pain for losing her child and for the fact her future as a mother will always be in question. "At times this young woman is almost overwhelmed and crushed by her sense of guilt," she added.

Girl Prostitutes—Who Is to Blame?

Sorry for the mix-up this article was originally part of an article entiled:

Women - What Does the Future Hold for Them?

Am really sorry for the mix-up.

Women - What Does the Future Hold for Them?

Discrimination Against Females

IN West Africa a businessman buys a nine-year-old child. In Asia a newborn baby is buried alive in the desert sand. In an Oriental country, a toddler starves to death in an orphanage—unwanted and unattended. One common denominator linked these tragedies: All the victims were girls. Their being female meant that they were considered dispensable.

These are not isolated cases. In Africa thousands of girls and young women are sold into slavery, some for as little as $15. And it is reported that each year hundreds of thousands of young girls are sold or forced into prostitution, mostly in Asia. Worse still, population figures for a number of countries indicate that as many as 100 million girls are “missing.” This is evidently due to the abortion, infanticide, or sheer neglect of females.

For a long time—centuries—females have been viewed this way in many lands. And in some places they still are. Why? Because in such lands, a greater value is placed on boys. There, it is felt that a boy can continue the family line, inherit property, and take care of parents when they get old, as often these lands do not have any government pension for the aged. An Asian saying alleges that “raising a girl is like watering a plant in your neighbour’s garden.” When she grows up, she will leave to get married or may even be sold into prostitution and thus be of little or no help in caring for aged parents.

Smaller Share

In countries plagued by poverty, this attitude means less food, less health care, and less schooling for the girls of the family. Researchers in one Asian country found that 14 percent of the girls were malnourished, compared with only 5 percent of the boys. In some countries twice as many boys as girls are brought to health centers, explains a report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). And over 40 percent of the young women in Africa as well as in southern and western Asia are illiterate. “There is a dreadful apartheid of gender going on in the developing world,” lamented the late Audrey Hepburn, former UNICEF ambassador.

This “apartheid of gender” does not disappear when the girls reach adulthood. Poverty, violence, and unrelenting toil are all too often a woman’s lot, precisely because she is a woman. The president of the World Bank explained: “Women do two-thirds of the world’s work. . . . Yet they earn only one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property. They are among the poorest of the world’s poor.”

According to a United Nations report, more than 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people of the world who live in dire poverty are women. “And it is getting worse,” the report added. “The number of rural women living in absolute poverty rose by nearly 50% over the past two decades. Increasingly, poverty has a woman’s face.”

Even more traumatic than the grinding poverty is the violence that wrecks the lives of so many women. An estimated one hundred million girls, mainly in Africa, have suffered genital mutilation. Rape is a widespread abuse that remains almost undocumented in some areas, although studies indicate that in some lands 1 woman in 6 is raped during her lifetime. Wars afflict men and women alike, but most of the refugees forced to flee from their homes are women and children.

Mothers and Providers

The burden of caring for the family often rests more heavily on the mother. She likely works longer hours and may well be the only provider. In some rural areas of Africa, nearly half the families are headed by women. In some localities in the Western world, a significant proportion of families are headed by the female.

Furthermore, especially in developing countries, women traditionally handle some of the most laborious jobs, such as fetching water and firewood. Deforestation and overgrazing have made these tasks much more difficult. In some drought-plagued countries, women spend three or more hours every day searching for firewood and four hours a day fetching water. Only when this drudgery is done can they begin to do the work that is expected of them in the home or on the land.

Obviously, both men and women suffer in countries where poverty, hunger, or strife is the daily fare. But women suffer disproportionately. Will this situation ever change? Are there any real prospects that one day women everywhere will be treated with respect and consideration? Is there anything women can do now to improve their lot?

Girl Prostitutes—Who Is to Blame?

Every year an estimated one million children—mostly girls—are forced or sold into prostitution. Araya, who comes from Southeast Asia, recalls what happened to some of her classmates. “Kulvadee became a prostitute when she was only 13. She was a nice girl, but her mother often got drunk and used to play poker, so she had no time to care for her daughter. Kulvadee’s mother encouraged her to earn money by going out with men, and before long, she was working as a prostitute.

“Sivun, another pupil in my class, came from the north of the country. She was just 12 when her parents sent her to the capital to work as a prostitute. She had to work for two years to pay off the contract signed by her parents. Sivun and Kulvadee are not unusual—5 out of the 15 girls in my class became prostitutes.”

There are millions of youngsters like Sivun and Kulvadee. “The sex industry is a huge market with its own momentum,” laments Wassyla Tamzali, of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). “Selling a 14-year-old girl has become so commonplace, it is banal.” And once these girls are sold into sexual slavery, paying off their purchase price may prove almost impossible. Manju, whose father sold her when she was 12, still owed $300 (U.S.) after seven years of prostitution. “There was nothing I could do—I was trapped,” she explains.

Escaping AIDS may be nearly as difficult for the girls as escaping the pimps who enslave them. A survey conducted in Southeast Asia indicated that 33 percent of these child prostitutes were infected with the AIDS virus. As long as the five-billion-dollar prostitution industry flourishes, it is likely that these girls will continue to suffer.

Who is to blame for this horrendous practice? Obviously, those who buy or sell girls into prostitution bear a huge part of the blame. But also to be condemned are the despicable men who use the girls to satisfy sexual lusts. For without such practicers of immorality, the prostitution of these girls would not exist. Each year about a million young girls are forced into prostitution.

A Woman’s Workday in Central Africa

The woman rises at six o’clock and prepares breakfast for the family and for herself, which they will eat at midmorning. After fetching water from the nearby river, she heads for her plot of land—it may be an hour’s walk away.

Until about four o’clock in the afternoon, she tills, weeds, or waters the land, stopping only briefly to eat whatever food she has taken with her. The two remaining hours of daylight are used to cut firewood and to collect cassava or other vegetables for the family—all of which she carries home.

Usually, she arrives home as the sun is setting. Now there is work to be done preparing the supper, a task that may occupy two hours or more. Sundays are spent washing clothes in the local river and then ironing, once the clothes are dry.

Her husband rarely appreciates all this hard work or listens to her suggestions. He doesn’t mind cutting down the trees or burning the forest underbrush so that she can prepare the land for planting, but he does little more. Occasionally, he takes the children to the river to wash themselves, and he may do a little hunting and fishing. But much of his day is spent talking with other menfolk of the village.

If the husband can afford it, after a few years, he will bring home a new, younger wife, who will become the center of his affection. His first wife, however, will still be expected to keep working as always, until her health fails or she dies. African women bear a heavy work load.

So what Does the Future Hold for Women?

“THE history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman.” Thus read the Seneca Falls, New York, Declaration of Sentiments, penned in America 150 years ago as a protest against injustice toward women.

Progress has undoubtedly been made since then, but as the United Nations publication The World’s Women 1995 states, there is still a long way to go. “Too often, women and men live in different worlds,” it reports, “worlds that differ in access to education and work opportunities, and in health, personal security and leisure time.”

Increased awareness of this has led nations to pass laws to protect the rights of women. But laws cannot change hearts, where the roots of injustice and prejudice lie. For example, consider the plight of girl prostitutes. Newsweek said of this international disgrace: “Legislation aimed at stopping the sexual exploitation of children is well meaning but often ineffectual.” Similarly, law itself does not prevent violence. “Evidence reveals violence against females to be a widespread global problem,” states the Human Development Report 1995. “Most laws are inadequate for stopping such violence—unless present cultural and social values change.”—Italics ours.

“Cultural and social values” are usually based on deep-seated tradition—a hard nut to crack. “Tradition makes men believe that women should be used rather than loved, worked rather than cared for,” says a woman from the Middle East. “As a result, a woman has no voice, no rights, and little chance to improve her situation.”

Educating Husbands and Fathers

The Platform for Action proposed in Beijing, China, by a 1995 world conference on women declared that only “immediate and concerted action by all” can achieve a “peaceful, just and humane world” in which women will be respected.

Any action to make women’s lives more ‘peaceful, just, and humane’ must begin at home, with husbands and fathers. In this regard, Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that Bible education is the key to success. They have seen that once men learn that God expects them to treat their wives and daughters with respect and consideration, they take it to heart and do it.

In Central Africa, Pedro, a married man with four children, is now attentive to the needs of his wife. He helps her look after the children, and he even serves the meal when guests eat with the family. Such a considerate attitude is most unusual in his country. What makes him appreciate his wife and cooperate with her?

“When I began to study the Bible, I learned two important principles regarding the role of the husband,” Pedro explains. “They have had a big impact on the way I view my wife. The first, at 1 Peter 3:7, explains that a husband should give his wife honor as the “weaker vessel, the feminine one.” The second, at Ephesians 5:28, 29, says that a husband should treat his wife ‘as his own body.’ Since I have followed that advice, we have become much closer. So we men must attach greater value to God’s counsel than to local customs.”

Michael, from West Africa, admits that before he began studying the Bible with the Witnesses, he did not treat his wife properly. “I even used to hit her when I got angry,” he confesses. “But the Bible taught me that I should change my ways. I now try very hard to control my temper and to love my wife as my own body. And we are both much happier.” (Colossians 3:9, 10, 19) His wife, Comfort, concurs: “Now Michael treats me with more respect and affection than is the custom of most husbands in our community. We can talk about our problems and work together as a team.”

Pedro and Michael learned to respect and cherish their wives because they took to heart the instructions from God’s Word, which makes it clear that injustice to women deeply displeases our Creator.

God’s Concern for Women

God has always been concerned about women and their welfare. Although he told our first parents that because of their rebellion, imperfection would lead to women being ‘dominated,’ this was never God’s purpose. (Genesis 3:16) He had created Eve as “a complement” of Adam and as a companion for him. (Genesis 2:18) In the Mosaic Law, given to ancient Israel, Jehovah specifically condemned the mistreatment of widows and instructed the Israelites to treat them kindly and help them.—Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 24:17-22.

Jesus, in imitation of his heavenly Father, did not follow the widespread tradition of his day that denigrated women. He spoke kindly to women—even those who had a bad reputation. (Luke 7:44-50) Moreover, Jesus was pleased to help women who had health problems. (Luke 8:43-48) On one occasion, when he saw a widow mourning the recent death of her only son, he immediately went up to the funeral procession and resurrected the young man.—Luke 7:11-15.

Women were among Jesus’ early disciples and were the first to witness his resurrection. The Bible speaks highly of women such as Lydia, Dorcas, and Prisca as examples of hospitality, compassion, and courage. (Acts 9:36-41; 16:14, 15; Romans 16:3, 4) And early Christians were trained to show women respect. The apostle Paul told his fellow missionary Timothy to treat “older women as mothers, younger women as sisters with all chasteness.”—1 Timothy 5:2.

Women Who Have Found Respect

If you are a Christian man, you will show that same respect toward women. You will never use tradition as an excuse for mistreating them. Respectful treatment of women, moreover, can give eloquent testimony to your faith. (Matthew 5:16) Salima, a young woman from Africa, describes how she benefited from observing Christian principles in action.

“I grew up in an environment where women and girls were treated badly. My mother worked 16 hours a day, but all she got were complaints if something was left undone. Worse still, my father would hit her when he drank too much. Other women in our area suffered likewise. But I knew such treatment was wrong—that it was filling our lives with frustration and unhappiness. Nevertheless, there seemed to be no way to change this state of affairs.

“When I was a teenager, however, I began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was very impressed when I read the words of the apostle Peter, who said that women should be treated with honor. But I thought, ‘It’s most unlikely that people would apply this counsel, especially in view of our local tradition.’

“However, when I went to the Kingdom Hall, where the Witnesses held their meetings, men as well as women treated me kindly. Even more surprising, the husbands among them really cared for their wives. As I got to know the people there better, I realized that this was something that all the Witnesses were expected to do. Although some of the men had come from backgrounds like mine, they were now treating women with respect. I wanted to belong to this large family.”

A Permanent Solution

The respect that Salima observed was not accidental. It was the result of a teaching program, based on God’s Word, that helps people to value one another as God does. This is an indication of what can be done even now and of what will be done everywhere when God’s Kingdom rules over all the earth. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:10) This heavenly government will eliminate all injustice. The Bible assures us: “When there are judgments from you [Jehovah] for the earth, righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn.”—Isaiah 26:9.

Even now, education in righteousness is changing the way millions of people think. When all living humans are subject to God’s Kingdom, this education will continue earth wide and will end men’s oppressive treatment of women, a consequence of Adam’s sin. Jesus Christ, God’s appointed King, will not allow injustice toward women to mar his rule. Describing that rule of Christ, the Bible says: “He will deliver the poor one crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, and the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul.”—Psalm 72:12-14.

This series of articles has concentrated on the problems of women. However, it is recognized that many men have also been treated badly. Throughout history powerful and evil men have committed unspeakable horrors against males as well as females. And some women have done the same. For instance, the Bible mentions the shedding of innocent blood by wicked women such as Jezebel, Athaliah, and Herodias.—1 Kings 18:4, 13; 2 Chronicles 22:10-12; Matthew 14:1-11.

Thus, all mankind needs God’s new world, under his Kingdom rule. Soon, when that day dawns, neither women nor men will ever again be discriminated against or treated badly. Instead, each day will be one of “exquisite delight” for everybody.—Psalm 37:11.