NEW YORK (CNN) – India is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman because for the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor, a new survey of experts shows.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday released the results of a survey of 550 experts on women’s issues, finding India to be the most dangerous nation for sexual violence against women, as well as human trafficking for domestic work, forced labor, forced marriage and sexual slavery, among other reasons.
It was also the most dangerous country in the world for cultural traditions that impact women, the survey found, citing acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage and physical abuse. India was the fourth most dangerous country for women in the same survey seven years ago.
Nine of the 10 countries on the list were from Asia, the Middle East or Africa. At number 10 was the United States, the only Western country to be included. The foundation said this was directly related to the #MeToo movement.
The release of the report comes amid mounting public outrage in India, where a series of high-profile rape cases, including two unrelated attacks on girls aged 16 and 8, have forced the issue of sexual violence back onto the national agenda.
In April, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand better protection for women, in some of the largest mass demonstrations held in the country since the rape and murder of a female college student in Delhi in 2012.
India has long grappled with the issue of sexual violence. In the months following the 2012 case, the central government moved to pass legislation increasing penalties for sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse, including extending prison sentences and introducing the death penalty.
But, despite the introduction of stricter laws, around 100 sexual assaults are reported to police in the country every day, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, with nearly 39,000 alleged attacks reported in 2016, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year.
The foundation’s survey was conducted after the #MeToo campaign emerged in October 2017. The large number of women alleging sexual misconduct since then is the reason that the U.S. has been included on the list.
“The United States shot up in the rankings after tying joint third with Syria when respondents were asked which was the most dangerous country for women in terms of sexual violence including rape, sexual harassment, coercion into sex and the lack of access to justice in rape cases. It was ranked sixth for non-sexual violence,” according to the foundation.
War-torn Afghanistan ranked second, as the worst country for non-sexual violence against women, which includes conflict-related violence and domestic abuse. It also ranked second worst for access to healthcare and access to economic resources and discrimination.
Syria, where a war has raged for more than seven years, ranked third on the list. The country is considered the second-most dangerous in terms of sexual violence and access to healthcare. Syria also tied for third with the United States in terms of sexual violence and harassment.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation held a similar survey seven years ago, and found that Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia were then the five most dangerous countries for women.
“World leaders vowed three years ago to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls by 2030, allowing them to live freely and safely to participate equally in political, economic and public life. But, despite this pledge, it is estimated that one in three women globally experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime,” the foundation said.
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