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Chi Mgbako
Chi Adanna Mgbako is clinical professor of law and director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. In partnership with grassroots organizations, she and her students work on human rights projects focusing on sex workers’ rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, and access to justice. She has conducted human rights fieldwork in many countries, among them Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States. Her publications have appeared in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Yale Journal of International Affairs, and the Georgetown Journal of International Law and popular media including The New York Times (Global Edition) and The Guardian. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia University and the author of To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa (New York University Press, 2016).

Entries by Chi Mgbako

The Global Labor Rights Movement You've Likely Never Heard Of

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 2:31 PM

When the swollen bodies of ten sex workers in the town of Nakuru, Kenya, were discovered in the fall of 2015, showing signs of torture and ritualistic killing, police did practically nothing to solve these serial murders. Frustrated by the lack of progress, hundreds of women and men...

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African Voices of Legal Empowerment

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 12:00 PM

Chimwemwe Ndalahoma first experienced the haunting reality of injustice as a young boy on a terrifying night in the southern African country of Malawi. Chimwemwe's father, a police officer, took him to a police camp to observe an interrogation. "What I witnessed was something horrible because he was torturing a...

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There Are No 'Perfect Victims'

(6) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 6:20 PM

When many people think of typical victims of human rights abuse, they often conjure up stereotypical images of passive and powerless people. We imagine them as incapable of self-expression and spotless in terms of their moral posture -- supremely innocent, utterly degraded, waiting to be saved. The biases underlying these...

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Police Confiscation of Condoms From Sex Workers Compromises Public Health and Fuels HIV/AIDS

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Throughout the world, in countries as diverse as Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe, police often confiscate condoms from sex workers to use as evidence of prostitution, thereby impeding public health interventions aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS. This year's New York State...

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Sex Workers in Greece Face Forced HIV Testing, While Those in Malawi Fight Back

(15) Comments | Posted June 11, 2012 | 2:51 PM

Greece has been a mainstay in the international press as it endures harsh austerity measures in the face of the global economic crisis. But recent news reports have also focused on another disturbing reality: At the end of April, Greek police began systematically arresting sex workers, forcing them...

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Why the Women's Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

(7) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 5:35 PM

Before a hushed audience of over 2,000 women's rights advocates from 140 countries stood Kthi Win, a sex worker and leader of a national organization of female, male, and transgender sex workers in Burma. With quiet confidence she bravely stated:

"The key demand of the sex workers' movement...
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Why Economic Justice Is Central to LGBT Rights

(7) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 11:38 AM

At the recent Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) international forum on economic rights, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from around the world highlighted the urgent need to link economic justice and LGBT rights. As one representative of the International Gay and...

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Confronting Police Abuse of Sex Workers

(4) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 3:44 PM

When we think of violence against sex workers, we conjure up images of dangerous clients and serial killers who target prostitutes. Indeed, the origins of the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, observed on December 17, lay in the decades-long serial murder of sex workers by...

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Africa's LGBT Rights Movement

(24) Comments | Posted May 3, 2011 | 3:46 PM

In 2004, leading African gay rights activist Fannyann Eddy was brutally murdered while she worked alone in the office of the gay rights organization she founded in Sierra Leone. She was a courageous crusader for the rights of Africa's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Years after Fannyann's...

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The Architecture of Maternal Death

(1) Comments | Posted April 7, 2011 | 3:32 PM

This post was co-authored by Tarek Meguid

The architectural design of two newly built public maternity hospitals in Malawi, which has one of the world's highest rates of women dying in childbirth, seeks to respect the human rights of birthing women and has had a significant impact on Malawi's maternal...

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Aiding Children Accused of Witchcraft

(2) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 5:32 PM

Over a year ago, Selene's 9-year-old daughter Emma began waking up every morning and saying that witches were taking her to the woods at night to teach her witchcraft. Selene, a gentle farmer in rural Malawi and fiercely protective mother, soon noticed that Emma was also experiencing weight loss, mood...

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Honoring the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

(6) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 10:08 PM

December 17th marks the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Sex workers and their allies, clustered in intimate gatherings in cities around the world, will light candles and read aloud the names of sex workers who have been victims of violence. These names will echo into a world...

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Sierra Leone Youth Call for an End to Female Genital Mutilation

(8) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 12:35 PM

The perspective often missing in the debate regarding female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful traditional practice involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitals, is the voice of African youth. My recent experience conducting human rights workshops at schools in the Kambia District of northern Sierra Leone,...

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International Donors Must Fund Breakthrough Female-Controlled HIV Prevention Gel

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2010 | 10:04 AM

After over twenty years of searching in the scientific wilderness, researchers have developed an effective vaginal microbicide gel that can block HIV transmission. The gel, laced with the antiretroviral drug tenofovir, can cut overall HIV infection rates by 39 percent and empower women whose intimate partners refuse to use condoms....

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Africa's Women Turn 50

(2) Comments | Posted August 20, 2010 | 4:06 PM

Fifty years ago, 17 African countries threw off the brutal and degrading yoke of colonialism. The 50th anniversary of African national liberation is an opportunity to critically reflect on the past five decades in post-colonial Africa, which began with luminous hope but have been marred by a leitmotif of grinding...

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