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Missing Women Count

The prostitution and violence of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood may be seen as a microcosm of the ongoing disappearance, human trafficking, sexual enslavement, and second-class treatment of women around the world. On every continent, women and children continue to go missing, human trafficking is rampant, and women are forced into sexual servitude. And, with a preference of male children and subsequent abortions or deaths of female children in many countries, populations are out of standard male-female gender alignment. This map provides statistical snapshots of ongoing crimes and abuses against women. By Jeremy Hainsworth, crime and justice reporter

Jeremy Hainsworth covered the Robert Pickton serial killing trial for The Associated Press and The Canadian Press news services. He has worked as a freelance correspondent for Reuters and U.S.-based Bureau of National Affairs and a variety of legal publications. He was on staff at The Canadian Press, The Calgary Herald and was a senior news manager for Canada’s Sterling Newspapers group. He has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of British Columbia and a Diploma in Journalism from Vancouver Community College.


Global figures:

  • Worldwide, about 100 million females are missing from the population as they die after birth or aborted due to preferences for males or due to other cultural preferences. Some 8.4 million missing in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The biggest reason for missing women in Sub-Saharan Africa seems to be HIV/AIDS.
  • Sex selective abortions seem to have played an increasing role in some countries experiencing missing women, most notably China, South Korea, and possibly India (Croll, 2000; Banister and Coale, 1994; Registrar General 2001).
  • Women and girls are 80% of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually. About 79% are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Interpol estimates each exploited woman can bring in $75,000 to $200,000 a year. Pimps brag a woman bought for $1,500 can bring in $100 an hour.
  • Europol deputy director Willy Bruggeman estimates trade in humans earns $12 billion worldwide a year.
  • Most of violence is in intimate relationships at the hands of husbands or partners
  • Up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.
  • About 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
  • First sexual experience of about 30% of women is forced.
  • 45% of those under age 15 report first sex was forced.
  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have experienced genital mutilation/cutting. More than three million African girls annually at risk of the practice.
  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before 18. Primarily in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Violence and abuse characterize married life for many child brides
  • As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. This increases the likelihood of miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion, as well as premature labour and low birth weight.
  • Between 23% and 53% of women physically abused by their intimate partners during pregnancy are kicked or punched in the abdomen.
  • Violence limits women’s access to family planning, which can potentially decrease maternal mortality by an estimated 20% to 35% by reducing women’s exposure to pregnancy-related health risks.
  • Up to 14.6% of women in sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Asia reported that when they disclosed their HIV status, their intimate partners became violent. Fear of violence is a barrier to women disclosing their status and accessing appropriate care.
  • Women in poor urban areas are especially at risk of physical and psychological violence.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to experience violence, particularly in developing countries.
  • Surveys in Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Philippines, Poland and Switzerland revealed that boys who witnessed their father using violence against their mother were three times more likely to use violence against their partners later in life.


Global Network of Sex Work Projects — helps to identify issues faced by sex workers at grass roots level, and enables sex workers to respond through action with the local communities and authorities that discriminate against them.
Coaltiion Against Trafficking in Women.

Source: United Nations Development Fund for Women; Stephan Klasen and Claudia Wink, University of Munich: A Turning Point in Gender Bias in Mortality (2001); Victor Malarek, The Natashas (Penguin 2003); Fraser Institute, Canadian Student Review Summer 2011 “Missing Women and Economic Freedom”. Compiled by J. Hainsworth