• About Johanna Higgs

    Johanna Higgs is from Perth, Australia. She is working on her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from La Trobe University in Melbourne and is the director of Project MonMa, a nonprofit group focused on improving women’s lives. She has an undergraduate degree in anthropology and politics from James Cook University in Queensland, and a master’s degree in international development from Deakin University in Victoria. She speaks English and Spanish.

    In Breakaway Abkhazia, Revived Traditions Put Women on the Edge

    by  • June 22, 2017 • Asia, Gender-Based Violence, Women • 

    SUKHUMI, Abkhazia — Here in the Caucasus region, hugging the Black Sea, this is what the capital of the small breakaway territory of Abkhazia looks like, more than 20 years after severing from Georgia: a city in tatters with abandoned buildings lining the streets and bullet holes still pockmarking the facades. The territory’s quarter...

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    It Still Exists: Slavery Drags On in Mauritania Despite Being Illegal

    by  • February 15, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Women • 

    NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — “The officials here in Mauritania will tell you the opposite of what victims will tell you, which is that there is no slavery in Mauritania,” said Brahim Bilal Ramdhane, who lives in this West African capital and was enslaved during his childhood. “They will just tell you that people who say...

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    In Iraqi Kurdistan, It’s a Life of Harsh Contrasts for Women and Girls

    by  • July 9, 2016 • Gender-Based Violence, Middle East, Terrorism, Women • 

    ERBIL, Iraq — Despite the war crimes being committed against women and girls in northern Iraq since the extremist group ISIS invaded two years ago, rejection of entrenched violence and discrimination against females may be taking root among pockets of the autonomous Kurdish region here. Yet in many ways, life for women and girls...

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    Argentina Has a Problem: Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls

    by  • January 24, 2016 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking, Women • 1 Comment

    BUENOS AIRES — Like many countries, Argentina is considered a source, transit and destination nation for the trafficking of men, women and girls, according to the United States State Department. Female victims and children are brought to the country from across South America — Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru — as well as from...

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    The Butterflies of Buenaventura, Saving Women’s Lives

    by  • November 27, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Latin America, Women • 

    BUENAVENTURA, Colombia — Described as Colombia’s horror capital, this costal city is a denizen of drug trafficking, gang violence and turf wars primarily between right-wing paramilitary networks and leftist rebels. Soldiers patrol the streets as part of the government’s attempt to crack down on the dangers, while abductions and sexual violence remain rampant as...

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    Despite Peace Talks, Colombians Are Still Terrified of the FARC

    by  • August 31, 2015 • Child Soldiers, Human Rights, Latin America, Women • 1 Comment

    MEDELLIN, Colombia — “There is conflict in every single country in the world,” a 16-year-old former combatant from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, rebel group said at a rehabilitation center for demobilized child soldiers here in Colombia’s third-largest city. Yet when it was pointed out that there was no conflict in...

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    Tunisian Women Feel Their Rights Eroding

    by  • July 9, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East, Women • 

    TUNIS — Tunisia has possessed the rare reputation of being progressive in gender equality in the Middle East-North African region. Yet with the rise of an Islamist political party in Tunisia after its relatively placid revolution in 2011, the question is, how have women fared in the post-Arab spring landscape? In Tunis, the cosmopolitan...

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