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Climate Change Could Mean More Prostitutes, Warn Several House Democrats

Apr 30, 2013 03:48 PM EDT

Climate change doesn’t just pose a threat to the world’s ecosystems and natural resources – it may actually increase the number of women pushed into prostitution worldwide, warn several House Democrats.

Because, according to the proposed resolution, women are “the linchpin of families and communities” and frequently the “first to feel the immediate and adverse effects of social, environmental, and economic stresses on families and communities,” the lawmakers are calling for the use of “gender-sensitive frameworks” in developing policies addressing climate change, including training, education and “local resilience plans” for women.

In particular, the resolution pointed out that “food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage,” in turn putting them at risk for HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

The problem, the resolution’s authors explain, is the ability of climate change to further exacerbate “issues of scarcity and lack of accessibility to primary natural resources,” as well as workload stresses on women farmers who, according to the resolution, produce an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries.

Their fears are at least partially corroborated by a report published by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which estimates the global demand for cereal may increase by as much as 100 percent and 110 percent for protein by 2050 due to population growth.

Add a harsher and less predictable climate and, according to the report titled “Feeding the Planet in a Warming World,” the world is accelerating toward a food crisis.

To prepare, the ITIF recommended that Congress triple the budget for agricultural research and development from $5 billion to $15 billion. In addition, the report calls for the establishment of government, university and privately-sponsored international consortia such as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.

Above all, however, the group recommended further production and innovation in the field of genetically-modified food, stating that there is “no agricultural policy change that could be adopted with more positive impacts and fewer downsides than drastically reducing regulations applied to crops through biotechnology.”

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